Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has made three changes to his starting 15 for South Africa’s final test of their Outgoing Tour against England at Twickenham on Saturday. Handré Pollard and Cobus Reinach will be the new halfback pairing, while Lood de Jager was recalled at lock.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has made three rotational changes to the match-day squad which defeated Scotland 30-15 at Murrayfield last weekend.
Pollard returns to flyhalf, instead of Elton Jantjies; Reinach replaces Herschel Jantjies at scrumhalf, while De Jager was also drafted into the starting line-up, seeing Franco Mostert join the replacements.
While many fans would argue that Pollard was ineffective when he came on against the Scots, Nienaber has defended his decision to play Jantjies off the bench.
“I thought Elton was outstanding last week. It’s always good for us to give him a start. The way he trains and the way I thought he performed in the games … he started. He is really pushing hard, but yeah, I thought Handre did well when he came on and obviously with Elton on the bench, it give us a bit of versatility at the back end of the game. So, maybe if you are chasing or if you are controlling the game, we can make certain substitutions, so to give us a little versatility,” says Jacques Nienaber.
The gauntlet has been thrown down by the Boks this week. And their mission is simple – defeat the English in their own backyard and consolidate your number one status in the world rankings.
It will also be the first time in eight years that South Africa will go undefeated in an end-of-year tour, should they win at Twickenham on Saturday.
For the coach, dominating their opponents at scrum-time will be crucial.
“I think there are a lot of similarities between us and them and I think if you look at the weekend, they played two nations, but what they did against Australia, they had four scrums and they scrummed three penalties. So, 75% conversion rate. Yes, it’s going to be a big challenge for us, for our forwards and our scrum. We surely must keep our feet on the ground because if you just look at the numbers that England are pushing out they are quite formidable and right up there,” Nienaber explains.
The Springboks have played 43 matches against England – winning 26, losing 15 and drawing twice. The last time they beat them in London was a tight contest in 2014 – when they won 31-28.