New changes to Springboks team ahead of All Blacks clash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Springboks have named an extremely strong team to face New Zealand at Twickenham on Friday evening in a final warm-up match ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Siya Kolisi captains a side that shows eight changes from the team that thrashed Wales, with one positional switch.

There is a six-two split on the bench between forwards and backs, which further underlines that the Springboks intend to use this run-out against the All Blacks for all its worth.

After a blow-out 52-16 win over Wales at the weekend, the Springboks will be looking for a sterner test against the All Blacks in their final World Cup warm-up match. The coaching staff admits that the backline, while exciting, is experimental, but the forwards are a settled unit brimming with that intangible Bok DNA, which coach Jacques Nienaber says will need to counter the All Blacks exceptional set-piece play.

“Sometimes one can focus so much on the razzle-dazzle on that side that you forget that they have a solid scrum, a good maul, they score maul tries, they stop mauls well, and they stop your scrums well. So, not taking away from the basics of rugby, they have got a good set piece and on top of that they have got this fast quick game that we will have to handle.”

The Springboks versus the All Blacks is the biggest fixture in world rugby, having it play out as a warm-up match is strange, to say the least, but the Boks say they are intent on enjoying the occasion.

“Having them as a warm-up game I think it is quite exciting for both us and them playing at Twickenham, I don’t know who is going to have the most support at Twickenham, but  I think it will be a nice occasion,” says Nienaber.

Two of the Springboks’ missing men, Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am, may still make it to France. Am is two weeks away from full training, while Pollard is ready to play, and should there be an injury in the World Cup squad, he will be straight into the team.

The Boks have opted for Makozole Mapimpi, Canaan Moodie and Kurt-lee Arendse in the same team, clearly looking to counter New Zealand at their own game; Arendse in particular has scored more tries than has Springbok caps, and wants more going into the World Cup.

“Building momentum now before the World Cup is really important for us and I think we are going to go back and look at the New Zealand match, see what we did wrong, and just try to rectify that and the squad that has been picked I think our goal is to closer and go out there and execute the plan that is set up for us for the week,” says Arendse.

After this final warm-up match, the World Cup squad of 33 heads to Corsica for a training camp, ahead of their first match of the tournament against Scotland on the 10th of next month.