Concern over “stiffness” in Malcolm Marx’s hips reportedly prompted the Springboks to start Joseph Dweba in the Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks at Ellis Park.
Dweba was called into the starting lineup ahead of Marx as a late injury replacement for Bongi Mbonambi for the second Test against the All Blacks, which the tourists won convincingly.
The call came a week after Marx produced a man-of-the-match performance in his 50th Test appearance against New Zealand in Nelspruit.
Dweba struggled with his lineout throwing in Johannesburg and was replaced by Marx on the 30-minute mark, prompting questions as to why Marx did not start the match. In the post-match presser, Bok coach Jacques Nienaber responded when questioned by simply saying that there were “private rugby reasons” for the decision.
However, according to Sunday newspaper Rapport, the decision was based on Marx reporting stiffness in his hips in the Test at Mbombela and the Boks did not want to risk starting him.
A source close to the Springbok camp said the concern was the potential of Marx being forced off early in the Test and his replacement, Dweba, also going off, which would have forced the Boks to finish the match with 14 men. However, no match-day squad can cope with two hooker injuries which is why the laws have a provision for uncontested scrums.
The Springbok coaches are still reportedly debating which of the two fit hookers will start in the upcoming Test against the Wallabies in Adelaide on Saturday.
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