Sunday, October 1, 2023

The Springboks with seven forwards on the bench against Ireland

As expected, South Africa brought forward the announcement of their team composition to this Tuesday afternoon, 48 hours before the initially scheduled matchday, before their surprise meeting with Ireland on Saturday. And, as true as ever to their principles, the Springboks did things their way, offering a bench of seven replacement forwards.

The starting fifteen is identical to the one played in the world champion’s first match against Scotland (18-3, September 10). Eben Etzebeth, injured at the start of the match in Marseille, healed his shoulder and returned to the game. The Faf Klerk – Manie Libbok hinge retained the confidence of Jacques Nienaber, as did the winger pair Cheslin Kolbe – Kurt-Lee Arendse, whose hierarchy was not shaken by Makazole Mapimpi’s hat trick last Sunday against Romania (76 -0).

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Kwagga Smith as a versatile forward

Therefore, the real surprise came from the substitutes’ bench. On Monday, Rassie Erasmus, director of rugby, suggested the Springboks could very well repeat the experiment of a bench with seven replacement forwards this Saturday. And it was not a bluff: what had been a first success at the end of August for a historic victory against New Zealand, in Twickenham (35-7, the biggest defeat in the history of the All Blacks), will reappear at the stadium in France Saturday. .

The squad will have the versatility of its third line Kwagga Smith, to cover possible hard blows at the back. And scrum-half Cobus Reinach will be the only three-quarters on this XXL bench.

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