Mtawarira and Oosthuizen return to the Bok front row fray
The Springboks have replaced their props for Saturday’s Test against Ireland with Tendai Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen returning to the front row fray.
Loosehead Steven Kitshoff who did duty against New Zealand drops to the bench‚ while unsurprisingly Ruan Dreyer is omitted from the match 23.
Mtawarira and Oosthuizen join powerhouse hooker Malcolm Marx up front in the starting team‚ while Wilco Louw‚ who also starred against the All Blacks‚ retains his place on the bench.
Elsewhere‚ Damian de Allende returns to the midfield in the absence of Jan Serfontein who now plays for Montpellier.
De Allende has struggled to recapture the form that made him a Springbok.
Injuries‚ in mitigation‚ have held him back.
“Damian is a quality player and he needs to be backed‚” said coach Allister Coetzee.
“He didn’t get a lot of opportunities because of Jan Serfontein. He knows what is expected.”
The coach earlier this week intimated he may make a change at flyhalf but he has retained Elton Jantjies ahead of Handre Pollard.
Coetzee had been concerned that it may take a while for Jantjies to settle in after returning from his Japanese club the NTT Shining Arcs.
“Elton slotted in very well. Starting with him is the right thing to do. Handre has to wait for his chance‚” said Coetzee.
Coetzee also retained his back three despite their relative inexperience of northern hemisphere conditions.
“Courtnall (Skosan) and Andries (Coetzee) played together for the Lions.
"They are matured players. Dillyn (Leyds) is an exceptional player. He also understands the 15 role.”
The Springbok team:
Andries Coetzee; Dillyn Leyds‚ Jesse Kriel‚ Damian de Allende‚ Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies‚ Ross Cronje; Francois Louw‚ Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ Siya Kolisi; Lood de Jager‚ Eben Etzebeth (captain); Coenie Oosthuizen‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Tendai Mtawarira.
Bongi Mbonambi‚ Steven Kitshoff‚ Wilco Louw‚ Franco Mostert‚ Uzair Cassiem; Rudy Paige‚ Handre Pollard‚ Francois Venter.
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