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Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has made 10 changes to the match-23 for Saturday’s second Test in the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against France in Paris, which include starts for experienced No 8 Duane Vermeulen and flyhalf Handré Pollard.

Coetzee also handed a first Test start to prop Wilco Louw, while Francois Venter has been selected at inside centre. The Springbok coach also made several positional changes to the match day squad that lost to Ireland in Dublin last weekend.

Upfront, Louw is set to make his starting debut in place of Coenie Oosthuizen, who suffered a serious knee injury in Dublin. And with Pieter-Steph du Toit ruled out with concussion, Vermeulen starts at No 8 in a revamped loose trio combination which sees Francois Louw moving to flank where he will join Siya Kolisi on the side of the scrum.

In the backline, Pollard is in line to make his first start for South Africa since the 2015 Rugby World Cup bronze medal playoff match against Argentina in London, in place of Elton Jantjies. Venter, who made his Test debut in 2016, comes in at No 12 for Damian de Allende.

Jantjies and De Allende are included amongst the replacements, where they will be joined by prop forward Trevor Nyakane and uncapped loose forward Dan du Preez.

Coetzee said Vermeulen brings a lot of experience to the team: “Duane is very experienced and fits in well with our plan for Saturday. He is a great lineout and ball-carrying option to fill the void left by Pieter-Steph, while his leadership and experience will offer great support to Eben Etzebeth.

“His presence and knowledge of the French is also a huge benefit for us. Duane has made good contributions since joining us at the beginning of the week, and I am looking forward to his combination with Siya and Francois,” said Coetzee.

Pollard’s playing opportunities over the past two years has been halted by a series of injuries.

“Handré has trained exceptionally hard the past few months and he is looking forward to the opportunity to once more start in the Springbok jersey,” said Coetzee.

“Elton has started in all 10 Tests so far this season and has made good contributions and I am pleased with his development. However, both flyhalves need playing time to continuously work on their game management in different conditions.”

Louw made a good impression last week in what was only his second Test, and this week he will make his starting debut in Paris.

“Wilco did very well last Saturday and gained valuable experience when he came on as an early replacement for Coenie. He deserves the opportunity to start against a strong French pack of forwards,” said Coetzee.

“Francois is also rewarded for continued good performances. He is a leader is his own right with an exceptional high work rate.”

According to Coetzee, the Springboks will be looking for an improved performance in all areas on Saturday after the disappointing performance in Dublin: “We have to fight back and play much better after our poor performance against Ireland.

“France is a much changed and improved side and will certainly pose a different challenge this time. They have a new half back combination and a strong ball carrying midfield, so they’re definitely not the same team we faced in June in South Africa,” said Coetzee, who furthermore believes the two big focal points for Saturday will be the battle for set piece dominance and gain line advantage.

“We have to be more accurate at the breakdown, especially with our reaction speed and basic fundamentals. Discipline, as well as our decision-making in tackle situations, are of paramount importance.

“We understand the importance of this match and we have to be at our best in terms of tactics, physicality and mental preparation, in order to confront and match France in front of their passionate supporters,” explained Coetzee.

The Springbok team to face France in Paris on Saturday:
15. Andries Coetzee, Emirates Lions – 10 caps, 0 points
14. Dillyn Leyds, DHL Stormers – 6 caps, 0 points
13. Jesse Kriel, Vodacom Bulls – 26 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
12. Francois Venter, Toyota Cheetahs – 4 caps, 0 points
11. Courtnall Skosan, Emirates Lions – 10 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
10. Handré Pollard, Vodacom Bulls – 23 caps, 190 points (2 tries, 30 conversions, 37 penalties, 3 drop goals)
9. Ross Cronje, Emirates Lions – 7 caps, 10 points (1 tries)
8. Duane Vermeulen, Toulon (France) – 37 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
7. Siya Kolisi, DHL Stormers – 26 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
6. Francois Louw, Bath (England) – 55 caps, 40 points (8 tries)
5. Lood de Jager, Vodacom Bulls – 33 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain), DHL Stormers – 64 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
3. Wilco Louw, DHL Stormers – 2 caps, 0 points
2. Malcolm Marx, Emirates Lions – 12 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
1. Tendai Mtawarira, Cell C Sharks – 96 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi, DHL Stormers – 12 caps, 0 points
17. Steven Kitshoff, DHL Stormers – 20 caps, 0 points
18. Trevor Nyakane, Vodacom Bulls – 34 caps, 5 points (1 try)
19. Franco Mostert, Emirates Lions/Ricoh Black Rams (Jap) – 16 caps, 0 points
20. Dan du Preez, Cell C Sharks – 0 caps, 0 points
21. Rudy Paige, Vodacom Bulls – 12 caps, 5 points (1 try)
22. Elton Jantjies, Emirates Lions/NTT Shining Arcs (Japan) – 21 caps, 198 points (2 tries, 37 conversions, 38 penalties)
23. Damian de Allende, DHL Stormers – 28 caps, 15 points (3 tries)

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Should’ve gone further and on form. This tour is fkd already after that first loss, build for the future. We don’t need to know what louw and vermeulen can bring.

    Only good selections are pollard and vorster.

    Should’ve been the form lock ruan Botha partnering Etsebeth. Du Perez into 7. Am at 13 and Gelant into 15.

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  2. @DavidS: @Methos The French Stormer:

    Same logic he was applying whilst Rhule was racking up cricket scores of missed tackles every test.

    Same logic he has for the back three and their deficiencies (less so Coetzee).

    At the very least Gelant could have been brought into the side as a utility back in place of DDA… he is better under the high ball and marginally on defence than both Skosan and Leydds, not to mention shores up the kicking a bit.

    Must be just me but Lood De Jager looks like a dopey stuffed Giraffe at test level. Bring in the mongrel and all round game of Ruan Botha, preferably starting, but even if just off the bench.

    At least the back-row are being chosen in their natural positions, but I am still not sold Louw is at the top of his game and Kolisi needs to GTFO of the centres/wings.

    Beast is past it imo… The Blood-nut is on fire and should be starting on form… whilst the Louw `change` is merely an injury enforcement. Quite frankly rushing Coenie back into the starting side was a huge mistake.

    But hey we can talk changes all day long… like we did last season… but the most important single change just ain`t happening.

    No top tier coach in the history of the professional era has still held onto his job this long with such a shocking record.

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  3. @bryce_in_oz:
    Dejagr has gone rouge. Noticed during Argentina RC game where he was wearing a wedding band during the game ( it was black as I recall) I mean…..
    Dudes mind is elsewhere like mowing lawn or maintaining his orchid collection.
    Gimme a **** break.

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  4. @Americano:

    Haha trust you to notice that… what a nonce he is. He has been pretty soft from the beginning in my books, with one or two good games in the jersey. He aint going to garner much respect/fear from opposition.

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  5. Bryce dejagr is SOOOOO huge & he has a name that’s for a siege cannon. . It saddens me that he doesn’t comport himself on field – at all times – like Godzilla.

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  6. @Craven:

    Me?

    If so… then yes Kriel is a 15… so at best I would have him on the bench as 12/13/15 cover. He is uber-talented. Irony is I think his behemoth twin Dan is even better and more suited to 13.

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  7. So I have been watching a bit of Jap rugby… particularly what Carlos Spenser has been doing with Andre Esterhuisen. Huge 12 being used at 10, 12 and 15. Wow… you reckon AC has been watching too. Lol… rhetorical.

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  8. Can’t see this game as ESPN would rather show wales v Georgia. Pox on u espn. Anyway I will be looking fwd to Bunny play by play summation. While I expect SA to end up on the short end in France…,if they lose to Italy if I’m Etzebeth agent i am immediaely getting him an overseas club gig. Too much money on the line to mess around with current national setup being run as an experimental art project.

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