Franco Mostert set to aid Marx in only Bok change
Mostert is the only change to the starting lineup
Franco Mostert’s return to the Springbok second row for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Mendoza should help repair a misfiring lineout.
The Springboks’ set piece was uncharacteristically sloppy in last week’s 34-21 win over the Pumas in Durban.
Mostert is the only change to the starting lineup.
Hooker Malcolm Marx, who plays for the Lions, battled to connect with primary jumpers Pieter-Steph du Toit and Eben Etzebeth, both of the Stormers.
Mostert comes with heaps of experience combining with Marx at Super Rugby level, and should help steady that aspect of the game especially as the Pumas will have sensed weakness and look to add more pressure in the lineout.
Marx offers the Boks so much around the park both on attack and defence, but his throwing can sometimes resemble a golfer with a case of the yips when there is pressure.
The Boks lost four lineouts last week, three where Marx failed to connect with his jumpers and one the Pumas poached. Marx shouldered the blame for the mistakes in an interview after the match, although coach Rassie Erasmus did not lay the blame squarely on his broad shoulders.
The coach said there were system errors, which translated, means the jumpers and the thrower were not always on the same wavelength. Communication between Mostert and Marx will be a lot more organic after playing together for so long, and will help cement an area of the game that can lead to a rapid downward spiral in other aspects when it goes wrong.
Mostert also brings a high work rate (not that Du Toit is a slouch), and is well rested after a two-week break since the Super Rugby final. He has a huge appetite for work, and with some impressive firepower off the bench, there will be no respite for the Pumas.
With RG Snyman and Du Toit both among the reserves as well as tighthead Wilco Louw, prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Bongi Mbonambi, the reserve forwards will ensure greater intensity in the final quarter.
Erasmus retained the same backline, which is understandable as they are still trying to gel.
With Willie le Roux and Faf de Klerk set to return to their English clubs before the end of the Rugby Championship, Erasmus wants to get as much out of them as possible in the games available while also finding a way to blood Embrose Papier and Damian Willemse from the bench. Both the youngsters were included among the reserves again.
Centres Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am have another chance to combine. The former grew into the match last week, and needs to back his bulk more often in contact situations.
Am just needs to keep controlling the defence and testing the opposition on attack as he did last week to establish beyond doubt that he is the answer at No13.
Winning in Argentina will not be easy, but Erasmus has picked a squad that should have the beating of the Pumas.
SA: Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, André Esterhuizen, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Siya Kolisi (c), Francois Louw, Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Embrose Papier, Lionel Mapoe, Damian Willemse