Bok coach’s ultimatum: in-form players to get the nod
Rassie Erasmus made sweeping changes to his side for their must-win final pool B match against Canada, but he wants his charges to replicate the intensity displayed against Italy
Kobe — The Springbok starting team assembled to play Canada on Tuesday are on notice: play poorly and you will struggle to get a game in the knockouts at the Rugby World Cup.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus again made sweeping changes to his side for their must-win final pool B match against Canada on Tuesday. But he wants his charges to replicate if not improve the intensity that was displayed in the win over Italy on October 4.
Damian Willemse‚ who flew in last week to replace Jesse Kriel, gets a start‚ while Warrick Gelant‚ who started at fullback against Namibia‚ will be on the right wing.
“Damian probably would have made the RWC squad if he wasn’t injured. He is match fit and has played for Saracens. He is a lot more comfortable with our systems.
“Warrick has played wing before so we have the luxury of resting Makazole [Mapimpi].
“His workload has been 80 minutes in and out. He has been playing really well [and] he has cemented his place in the team now. He scores every game for us. That is what we expect of our wingers.”
Lukhanyo Am‚ who has had a heavy workload at the World Cup gets a breather‚ which means Damian de Allende shifts up one position.
“With Jesse [Kriel] out we have to cover that position. Warrick played [No] 13 early in his career and we might look at that later in the game‚” Erasmus said.
At scrumhalf, Cobus Reinach gets his first World Cup start and he will have Elton Jantjies for company.
In the pack, Francois Louw is back in the No 8 jersey‚ with Kwagga Smith starting at No 7.
Regular captain Siya Kolisi completed 80 minutes last week and he gets another go from the start, which should put him in good stead for the quarterfinals.
“It was wonderful‚” said Erasmus about the 80 minutes Kolisi played last week.
“It was his best match since he came back from injury. He will roll on now. His form is back to where it was. To take him off now will start the process all over again.”
At hooker, Schalk Brits also gets another go, with Malcolm Marx ready to come off the bench.
Erasmus is clear: he wants this team to emulate‚ if not better the output the Boks produced against Italy.
“The team’s make-up is a bit different. We expect the same intensity in all four of our remaining games. It doesn’t help [that] we get a good score, but we don’t improve [in] all the areas we identified.
“One of the areas that will be vital as we go into the next phase of the competition is intensity. If this team doesn’t at least match or step up‚ they will struggle to stay in team selection,” Erasmus said.
Springbok team: Damian Willemse; Warrick Gelant‚ Damian de Allende‚ Frans Steyn‚ S’bu Nkosi, Elton Jantjies‚ Cobus Reinach, Francois Louw‚ Kwagga Smith‚ Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert‚ RG Snyman, Vincent Koch‚ Schalk Brits and Thomas du Toit. Replacements: Malcolm Marx‚ Steven Kitshoff‚ Frans Malherbe‚ Eben Etzebeth‚ Pieter-Steph du Toit; Herschel Jantjies‚ Handre Pollard and Willie le Roux.