Bok trio to debut in Cardiff

Winger Jamba Ulengo, centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, and flank Uzair Cassiem will make their Test debuts for the Springboks against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Janse van Rensburg, who takes over from Damian de Allende, and Ulengo, who is in for Bryan Habana, are part of a reshuffled backline. Both played for South Africa in the international match against the Barbarians three weeks ago at Wembley Stadium, but will become officially capped Springboks in Cardiff this weekend.

Cassiem, who didn’t feature against the Baa-Baas, will also win his first Test cap after Willem Alberts was ruled out because of a neck niggle. Jean-Luc du Preez has been included on the bench, and may also win his first Test cap if he gets onto the field.

A new-look backline sees the return of Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) as the halfback combination. There is a further change at fullback, with Johan Goosen named to start in the No 15 jersey.

In the other change up front, Lourens Adriaanse comes in at tighthead in place of Vincent Koch, which means that 14 players who will be based in South Africa for Super Rugby in 2017 will start against Wales, with a further seven on the bench.

Bok coach Allister Coetzee said the revamped side was picked as result of a combination of factors. There are only 40 caps among the backs, the lowest total since 1994.

'We have a less experienced team, but I want to see some energy and an improved performance. Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and necessity to build towards 2019,' said Coetzee.

'Uzair was impressive during our domestic competitions and he was man of the match in the Currie Cup final. He made a good impression during the buildup to the Barbarians match and has continued to work hard on this tour since rejoining us.

'Jamba, Uzair and Rohan are examples of players who have forced their way into the squad through consistently performing well on the domestic scene and during training on tour, and now they are getting their opportunities to play for the Boks. Even though Damian played well against England and Italy we felt Rohan deserved an opportunity. Lourens played well whenever he was selected and he too deserves his opportunity.'

Regarding the challenge of facing Wales at home, Coetzee said he expects another huge battle between the two sides.

'Recent matches between us have always delivered close fought battles and small point margins and I expect more of the same on Saturday,' said Coetzee.

Springboks – 15 Johan Goosen, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lionel Mapoe.

Photo: Craig Mercer/Camera Sport

Post by

Jon Cardinelli