Experienced trio back for Springboks against France

Franco Mostert is one of the experienced internationals who will make his return to the Springbok team on Saturday after missing out on the test against England last week. Photo: GB Jordaan

The experienced trio of Willie le Roux, Faf de Klerk and Franco Mostert are back in the Springbok starting team for Saturday’s Test against France at the Stade de France in Paris.

The match in the French capital is South Africa’s second fixture of the 2018 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to the United Kingdom and France and kicks off at 22:05 (SA time).

The inclusion of Le Roux, De Klerk and Mostert – with close to 100 Test caps between them – are the only changes announced by Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, to the run-on team when he confirmed the Springbok match-23 on Thursday.

Le Roux takes over the No 15 duties from Damian Willemse while De Klerk comes in at scrumhalf to replace Ivan van Zyl, with the rest of the backline kept unchanged.

Mostert replaces Eben Etzebeth, who sustained a foot injury in last weekend’s 12-11 loss to England at Twickenham, in the only change to the pack.

With the availability of the Boks’ European-based players, Erasmus also announced three changes to the replacements. Vincent Koch (prop), Francois Louw (loose forward) and Cheslin Kolbe (utility back) are set to provide impact off the bench.

“It’s good to have the experienced players back in the starting team for France.  I thought Damian and Ivan did very well last week against England but you need as much experience as possible playing away from home. We are building squad depth for the Rugby World Cup and they will be back in the mix as the tour progresses,” said Erasmus.

Etzebeth was not considered because of the injury he picked up against the English, which forced him to leave the field early at Twickenham.

“We believe it would be better not to rush Eben back as we still have two Tests left on the tour after the match against France. Franco has started in eight of our 11 Tests this year and he starts with Pieter-Steph du Toit, who is obviously also a good option to move to loose forward later in the match,” Erasmus explained the return of Mostert.

The Bok mentor described France as a dangerous side, and said the home side will provide the Springboks with formidable opposition on Saturday.

“The French are very physical and skilful, and we will have to be good on defence and also be disciplined. The conditions here in the northern hemisphere demand a different approach and while we created a lot of opportunities last week we have to better with our execution,” Erasmus concluded.

The Springbok team to face France in Paris: 15. Willie le Roux, 14. Sbu Nkosi, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10. Handré Pollard, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Duane Vermeulen, 6. Siya Kolisi (captain), 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Malcolm Marx, and 1. Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. RG Snyman, 20. Francois Louw, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Elton Jantjies and 23. Cheslin Kolbe.

 

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