Erasmus Shuffles Bok Team For Cape Town Test

Picture : Daily Marvic

JOHANNESBURG: The 37-year-old Schalk Brits (hooker) is on the replacements bench and is set to make his first Springbok appearance since the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The Springbok team for the third and final Test in the Castle Lager Incoming Series against England in Cape Town on Saturday shows five changes from the starting team that beat the English last week in Bloemfontein.

Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, has picked Warrick Gelant at fullback, Jesse Kriel, and Andre Esterhuizen in midfield, Elton Jantjies at flyhalf and Chiliboy Ralepelle at hooker for the match at DHL Newlands, which kicks off at 17h05.

The 37-year-old Schalk Brits (hooker) is on the replacements bench and is set to make his first Springbok appearance since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The promising young scrumhalf Embrose Papier, who made his Springbok debut off the bench against Wales in Washington, was also named amongst the substitutions.

The Springboks have already clinched the three-match series between the two countries following last Saturday’s 23-12 victory in Bloemfontein, where front rower Tendai Mtawarira made his 100th Springbok Test appearance.

Mtawarira will again anchor the Bok scrum, this time with Ralepelle doing duty in the No 2 jersey, while Frans Malherbe gets a second successive start following last week’s return to the Bok tight five.

Erasmus has resisted the temptation of making wholesale changes and has instead opted for a couple of tweaks in areas where he wants to try different combinations.

“The series might be won but we still have an important Test match on Saturday, against a very determined English side who will be looking to end the series on a high,” explained Erasmus.

“I expect a very physical and close-fought game. We are desperate to win and make it 3-0 while England will be desperate to win the game, make it 2-1 and finish their tour on a positive note.”

Referring to the changes in the match 23, Erasmus said: “No one is out of the team because of a lack of form, the changes are due to our long-term planning for next year’s Rugby World Cup as we continue to build squad depth and capacity.”

While praising the strides made in the past two matches in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, Erasmus said he wants to see much more improvement from the Springboks.

According to Erasmus, the Springboks won’t get carried away by the two close-fought wins: “We made a lot of mistakes last week and this Saturday gives us the opportunity to rectify those errors and to continue to build on our team cohesion.”