Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has explained the reasons behind opting to start Cobus Reinach in place of the injured Faf de Klerk, and also why Morne Steyn was picked on the bench ahead of Elton Jantjies.
When Nienaber unveiled his team for the final Test of the three-match series against the British & Irish Lions, it was interesting to see Reinach jettisoned straight into the starting lineup after he was not part of the match-day squad for the first two Tests.
However, it means that rather than two roles needing to be changed after the injury to De Klerk, it will allow for Jantjies to continue in his impact role off the bench, while Reinach will start – as he did in the SA A game against the Bulls.
“Within our set-up and with our gameplan, we feel Cobus and Faf have a similar style of play and skill set they bring to the team.
“Herschel is a little bit different and out of the box, and for us going forward into the Test match, we feel it’s a like-like-for-like replacement to bring Cobus in to start, with Herschel able to bring the intensity like he always does off the bench.”
Meanwhile, Nienaber explained that the decision to opt for a five-three forwards-to-backs-split on the bench rather than go with the six-two option had led to a debate which lasted for more than an hour.
It ultimately opened the door for Morne Steyn to make a remarkable return to the Bok squad, and Nienaber also revealed the reasoning behind this decision.
“He understands the pressure. If you take the World Cup final and if you take this game, the pressure is going to be similar. It’s do or die,” said Nienaber.
“Morne has been there before and he has done it before in a big game in 2009.”