Nienaber pleased with ‘energetic’ Orie

Jacques Nienaber has praised the energy and enthusiasm of this Saturday’s starting lock Marvin Orie, who previously channeled his inner Maro Itoje in order to assist the team’s preparations during the Lions series.

The Springboks will take on Argentina on Saturday in the second round of the Rugby Championship and Nienaber has made wholesale changes to the team that secured a comfortable victory against the Pumas last week. The starting XV features 11 changes – six in the backline and five up front – and the match-23 shows 17 changes in total.

It is the second consecutive Test match for which Nienaber has made a plethora of changes, as he named an almost completely fresh backline for the first Test, bar scrumhalf Cobus Reinach.

Explaining the changes during the team announcement press conference, Nienaber said that they had to take player welfare into consideration, given that they are coming off a taxing series against the British & Irish Lions and have a long tour to Australia for the second leg of the Rugby Championship ahead of them.

“It speaks volumes for the depth at an international level that we have available,” Nienaber explained. “The changes are not at all taking Argentina lightly whatsoever. We are in a position since we played Georgia, it’s probably seven or eight weeks consecutive rugby.

“From a player welfare point of view, we are forced to look at the wellbeing of our players. But we are fortunate to have so many backs available to us, that we could put out a backline last weekend and make almost a whole backline change, bar Cobus Reinach.”

One of the changes will see Orie make his first start for the Springboks, after playing all of his five Test appearances off the bench. There is also a potential Springbok debut for Montpellier lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, who has been named on a bench that features a six-two split between forwards and backs.

Speaking about Orie, Nienaber praised the work that the Stormers player had done during training sessions in the Lions series, in which he emulated Lions lock Maro Itoje.

“Marvin has been part of the squad for a while. I must say, when I heard it was his first Test start, I was quite surprised because I remember him being part of the World Cup mix, building up in the Rugby Championship in 2019. Obviously he missed out on going to the World Cup. So he has been in and around our team environment for a while.

“He has been training really well. He has been energetic. In the British & Irish Lions series, he was Maro Itoje for us. He studied him, his mannerisms and how he calls lineouts. Marvin was phenomenal in preparing the team in the Lions series.

“Nicolaas has been part of us since we got together in Bloemfontein. So he is pretty much clued up with our systems. I am looking forward to seeing him perform on the weekend.”

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The Springboks will also have a fresh front row on Saturday as Thomas du Toit, Malcolm Marx and Trevor Nyakane have been promoted to the starting lineup, with Du Toit making his first start of the season.

“Thomas was unfortunate,” Nienaber said on the tighthead prop.  “He was one of the unfortunate guys who got Covid and had to isolate, or he was a close contact. He would have had an opportunity to play earlier, but things just didn’t work out for him. But hats off to him. He has always been positive and trained hard. He gets his first opportunity now since the World Cup.

“We are very happy with Trevor making that move to loosehead after Ox’s injury. He really stepped up. He is making his first start at loosehead for us and I am looking forward to seeing how he operates now as a starter and what he can deliver for us.”

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Dylan Jack