Jacques Nienaber has made just three changes to the Boks’ starting lineup for the second Test, saying continuity in selection is key for their must-win match on Saturday.
The inclusion of Jasper Wiese, Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe for Kwagga Smith, Ox Nche and Trevor Nyakane, respectively, are the three personnel changes to the pack. The backline remains unchanged.
Commenting on his selection for the crucial second game of the three-Test series, which South Africa trail 1-0, Nienaber said: “This is a massive game for us; it is do or die in order to stay in the race to win the series and we selected a team that offers continuity in selection, but also that we thought would be the best suited to achieve the objectives we have set for this match.
“Ox did well in the scrums last week and has been ruled out due to injury, but fortunately we have a world-class player in Steven who can step into the starting team. The fact that this will mark his 50th Test will make this occasion even more important for him.”
On his decision to opt for a six-two split on the replacements bench, Nienaber added: “We have had an extra week on the training field after a few disruptive weeks in the buildup to the opening Test, so we are confident that the players in the squad will be able to deliver on the physicality and grit that will be required in this match.
“We need to be better in every area of the game this week, and the set pieces will be crucial in laying the foundations we need to execute our gameplan effectively.
“We also spoke about our discipline and the aerial battle as a team, and we intend to work as hard as possible at training this week to correct the errors that cost us last week.”
Nienaber expected another epic battle against the British & Irish Lions, and he said the Boks were in the right frame of mind to bounce back from the disappointment they endured last week.
“We disappointed ourselves last week, and we all know how important it is to bounce back with a strong performance and show our fighting spirit and pride as a team and nation,” said the coach.
“For most players the Castle Lager Lions Series is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we desperately want to win the series, so we will fight as hard as we can on the field to win this week so that we can achieve that goal.”
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