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Nienaber explains Bok selection for crunch clash against All Blacks

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber during the team announcement ahead of SA's Test against the All Blacks in Mbombela.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber during the team announcement ahead of SA's Test against the All Blacks in Mbombela.
Image: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has explained the three changes he has made for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand at Mbombela Stadium.

Among changes to the team that beat Wales in Cape Town last month to clinch the series 2-1, Malcolm Marx, who will earn his 50th Test cap, will run out at hooker in place of Bongi Mbonambi.

Faf de Klerk returns to the starting line-up at scrumhalf in a rotational switch with Jaden Hendrikse. The only injury-enforced change is on the right wing, where Kurt-Lee Arendse will earn his second Test cap in place of Cheslin Kolbe, who is recovering from a broken jaw.

“We just thought that Kurt-Lee Arendse performed well in the second Test against Wales,” Nienaber said.

“There are a lot of similarities if you look at his game versus Cheslin’s game. We think we get a like-for-like player there.”

Regarding Marx, Nienaber said they always try to start with players who are reaching significant milestones in their careers.

“We always want to make it extra special for players if it’s possible when they reach milestones, but that is not to say we won’t rotate like we have done in the past, where we would put Steven Kitshoff on the bench and Trevor Nyakane in, or vice versa.

“It is always nice if a guy achieves a milestone and you start him off the bench, but it suits him [Marx] and we are comfortable that Malcolm will perform a role from the start and Bongi will do the same when he comes off the bench.

“If you look at Faf, he’s been with us for a while. He is very experienced and we have had big games with him in the past, including the World Cup and British & Irish Lions series.

“It is nice to have him back in the mix. I think we will need him and his skills set for this game.”


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