Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has made eight changes to his starting 15 ahead of their second Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.
Utility back Canan Moodie is one of the new inclusions and the 19-year-old will make his debut on the wing for South Africa. In an effort to change their fortunes around in this year’s Rugby Championship, Nienaber has made wholesale changes to his team.
With Handre Pollard, Lukhanyo Am, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Elton Jantjies unavailable due to injuries, Damian Willemse will move from fullback to flyhalf, Jesse Kriel will slot in at centre and Franco Mostert has been included in the loose trio.
Veteran Willie le Roux will take Willemse’s place at fullback, while Jaden Hendrikse takes over from Faf de Klerk at scrumhalf.
Prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Malcolm Marx earn a start in a new-look front row with Frans Malherbe, as Jasper Wiese takes over at number eight from Duane Vermeulen.
The 19-year-old Moodie, who was impressive for the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship, earns his first start on the right wing with Warrick Gelant dropping to the bench.
🇿🇦 Eight new players in the Bok starting team for Sydney, where Moodie will make his Test debut
🗣️ “We let ourselves down in the last two games and we are determined to rectify that”
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“We are excited to get him in the mix obviously he had an awesome season in the URC. We followed him closely. We are excited to see him put his skills into a test match. He has been with us a month now and really happy to see his progress in the team and how comfortable he became. He is a very coachable guy. You won’t say he is a 19-year-old because he is very mature for his age and he has a good rugby brain on him,” explains Nienaber.
The Boks are languishing in last place in the Rugby Championship standings, with just one win and Saturday’s clash in Sydney is a must-win if they want to stay in the hunt for the title.
But Nienaber is adamant that he is not feeling the heat, just yet.
“The pressure I feel and the team feels is the pressure we put on ourselves and that’s obviously because of the losses. We all feel pressure because we want to produce for our country. The pressure is try to get solutions for the next game; it’s not pressure from the outside its internal pressure. No coach can control the outside pressure that comes with the territory and we live and die by that pressure. But if you start focusing on that pressure you focusing on the wrong things.
We focus on our internal pressure and the things we want to achieve and get right that’s the pressure we can control and we can do something about the external pressure that is always out there. This week its on us and it happens to all coaches we must focus on the pressure we can control,” adds Nienaber.