Faf and Willie return to boost the Springboks in Paris
Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux are two of six overseas-based Springboks who joined the squad in Paris on Monday now that the international window is open.
Scrumhalf De Klerk and fullback Le Roux‚ who play for English club sides Sale and Wasps respectively‚ missed last Saturday’s 12-11 defeat against England at Twickenham.
The pair‚ along with the returning quartet of wing Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse)‚ prop Vincent Koch (Saracens)‚ looseforward Francoise Louw (Bath) and lock Gerhard Mostert (Gloucester) are all eligible now that the international window is open.
De Klerk’s return after a stellar year will be a boost although Ivan van Zyl‚ in only his second start at Test level‚ doggedly stayed to coach Rassie Erasmus’ script of kicking for territory and did what was asked of him against England.
After losing at Twickenham‚ the Boks are now under pressure to win at the Stade de France on Saturday and although Erasmus wants to grow his depth‚ his key objective now is winning.
De Klerk will almost certainly start‚ but it does remove another opportunity for the likes of Van Zyl and Embrose Papier to grow at Test level.
Similarly fullback Damian Willemse is likely to be overlooked for Le Roux against France‚ which will also mean less game time for the 20-year-old.
After Sbu Nkosi gave another strong display at the weekend‚ Kolbe’s starting place is not guaranteed on the right wing while Wilco Louw was good off the bench against England meaning Koch is unlikely to feature this weekend.
Eben Etzebeth’s foot injury sustained at Twickenham is not as bad as feared and according to Erasmus he should be available for selection this weekend. Mostert’s return bolsters the lock stocks‚ which could see Pieter-Steph du Toit return to blindside flank.
If that is the case then Duane Vermeulen could take over at No 8 with Warren Whiteley dropping out of the starting XV.
Louw’s return also muddies the waters as he can play openside and No 8.
“It’s good to welcome Faf‚ Willie‚ Cheslin and the others back into the squad‚” said Erasmus. “They bring along some valuable experience and knowledge of the European conditions and we are looking forward to working with them again. All of them will be available for selection for this weekend.”