Nienaber thinks Bok’s balance is right

Henry

Poor Matt Williams probably couldn’t fall asleep last night after reading the names on the Springboks’ substitutes’ bench.

Jacques Nienaber and co have loaded the Boks’ reserve force with forwards again for the important World Cup game against Ireland in Saint-Denis.

Williams, who previously coached Scotland, grumbled earlier that the South Africans were abusing the substitutes’ bench when they chose a similarly loaded bench against the All Blacks at Twickenham.

Now Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Jean Kleyn, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden and Kwagga Smith will surely cause further headaches.

The risk associated with a 7/1 split is well-known: If a full-back in the starting fifteen were to get hurt, the Boks could struggle to fit their match puzzle pieces.

Fortunately, Cobus Reinach can serve on the wing, while Kwagga Smith’s back seven also comes in handy.

“Ireland is a top quality team with strong forwards and a talented backline. They make the game nice and fast and we know we will have to be at our best. We played against them in 2022 and we also watched their progress this year; the players therefore know what is expected of them,” said Nienaber.

According to the Springbok coach, a match group has been chosen that can keep the Irish in check.

“We have built depth and versatility and we believe that this is the best combination of players for the showdown. This is many of the players’ second or third World Cups and they know what it takes to be successful at this level. We believe that the team has the right balance to win the game.”

A touch of history also counts in the Springboks’ favour: They have won their last seven tests in Paris.

Yes-no, the table is pretty much set for the duel.

The match starts at 21:00 on Saturday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Springboks: Damian Willemse (full back), Kurt-Lee Arendse (right wing), Jesse Kriel (outside centre), Damian de Allende (inside centre), Cheslin Kolbe (left wing), Manie Libbok (fly-half), Faf de Klerk (scrum-half), Jasper Wiese (eighth ), Pieter-Steph du Toit (flank), Siya Kolisi (captain and flank), Franco Mostert (lock), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Frans Malherbe (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) and Steven Kitshoff (prop). Substitutes: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Jean Kleyn, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith and Cobus Reinach.