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Tuesday, 09 July 2024 16:59

Rassie Erasmus names unchanged team for second Test.

By Brenden Nel.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus named an unchanged team from the one that beat Ireland at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday for the second test in Durban this weekend, giving a vote of confidence to the players involved.

While there were plenty of talking points about the Boks' style of play, the mistakes that they made on the field and the way Ireland came back at them late in the game, the coaching staff believe they have the right 23 players to win in Durban and take a 2-0 sweep of the short series.

In fact, it would have been a brave man to drop any of the players, especially after the performance, and the way they solidified their ranking as the best team in the world by beating their nearest challengers.

While Ireland sit with a number of injuries and a potential headache in selection ahead of the Durban game, the Boks are in a totally different space and have players pushing hard for selection who will have to wait for another week before they get their chance.

But in the face of a changing game plan where the Boks are intent on giving the ball a lot more air, the vote of confidence will come as a vindication of their plan as they look to take another step forward under the new coaching team that joined after the World Cup.

The team is also the most experienced Springbok team in history, surpassing the 987 caps that took the field last year in the World Cup final against New Zealand. This team has 990 caps this weekend, with the team that took to the field at Loftus Versfeld sporting the third most caps in history now with 975.

Coach Rassie Erasmus has given a vote of confidence to the same pack that did battle with Ireland and struggled to dominate early on in the scrums, but caused some chaos in the Irish lineout, while try scorers Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse will be popular choices for their positions while Willie le Roux closes in on his 95th cap for the Boks.

Eben Etzebeth will start in his 122nd test match, closing in on the 124 of Bryan Habana and now just five behind the record of Victor Matfield at 127.

Once again the Boks have gone with a six-two split that did the damage late in the game with a powerhouse scrum to clinch a penalty try and settle the first test, with Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu still keeping out Manie Libbok in the match day 23.

Considering Canan Moodie returned to the squad this week and there are a number of experienced players who have had another week with the Boks, the vote of confidence can truly be seen as vindication of the result in the first test.

South Africa: W le Roux; C Kolbe; J Kriel, D de Allende; KL Arendse; H Pollard; F de Klerk; O Nche, B Mbonambi, F Malherbe; E Etzebeth, F Mostert; S Kolisi (capt), PS du Toit, K Smith.

Replacements: M Marx, G Steenekamp, V Koch, S Moerat, RG Snyman, M van Staden, G Williams, S Feinberg-Mngomezulu.