The Springboks could not have asked for a better start to their 2023 Test season as they hammered the Wallabies 43-12 at Loftus last weekend, while they will now head into this Saturday’s clash against the All Blacks with a new-look squad.
Willie le Roux was in fact the only backline player to retain his place in the starting lineup as the Springboks stuck to their plan of balancing players’ game-time and trying out new combinations.
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However, some pundits have expressed disappointment that hat-trick hero Kurt-Lee Arendse wasn’t at least included on the bench for the All Blacks battle, although coach Jacques Nienaber has explained how the Springboks meticulously planned for these first two selections of the year.
“The first thing is we need a squad to build momentum during and to try and win the Rugby Championship. We also need a squad for the two warm-up games against Wales and the All Blacks at Twickenham.
“We said it from the start there was no A and B side, the team we selected against Australia is a team we felt had the right mix to be competitive against Australia, the same thing goes with this one [for New Zealand].
“We weren’t 100% sure how this team would pan out because of injuries, but the team we selected for this weekend is a team we feel can be competitive against a very good New Zealand side…. We were pretty honest with them from the start, but the New Zealand side was also selected because of form and injuries to players,” he added.
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Springboks team to face New Zealand in Auckland:
15 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 84 caps, 65 pts (13t)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 23 caps, 74pts (11t, 2c, 5p)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 32 caps, 30 pts (6t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights) – 70 Tests, 45pts (9t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 36 caps, 110pts (22t)
10 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 28 caps, 36 pts (2t, 4c, 4p, 2d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 46 Tests, 41pts (5t, 2c, 4p)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester) – 20 caps, 5pts (1t)
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 63 caps, 15pts (3t)
6 – Kwagga Smith (Blue Revs) – 31 caps, 20pts (4t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Panasonic Wild Knights) – 65 caps, 25pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 110 caps, 15pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 59 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks) – 57 caps, 60 pts (12t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (Ulster) – 72 caps, 10pts (2t)
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16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 59 caps, 70pts (14t)
17 – Thomas du Toit (Bath) – 16 caps, 0 pts
18 – Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks) – 42 caps, 0 pts
19 – RG Snyman (Munster) – 24 caps, 5 pts (1t)
20 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 67 caps, 30 pts (6t)
21 – Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby) – 66 caps, 15 pts (3t)
22 – Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks) – 2 caps, 0 pts
23 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 4 caps, 19 pts (8c, 1p)
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