Former SA Under-20 flyhalf Manie Libbok has been included on the Springbok bench for Saturday’s Test against France in Marseille.
Head coach Jacques Nienaber named a team showing five changes and two positional switches from the side that ran out against Ireland last weekend.
Among the changes by Nienaber for the second match of their year-end tour, Willie le Roux returns to the starting team 15 as fullback, which sees Cheslin Kolbe move to the right wing and Kurt-Lee Arendse to the left wing, while Makazole Mapimpi has been named among the replacements.
#Springboks team tweaked for @FranceRugby Test, with the uncapped Manie Libbok named on the bench – more here: https://t.co/FgHkR6sB3b 🇿🇦#StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #FRAvRSA pic.twitter.com/F4LBbQMql3
— Springboks (@Springboks) November 8, 2022
This increases his kicking options after their disastrous performance against Ireland last weekend.
“We are working hard on it. We know where we are in terms of having a seasoned flyhalf. Injury has dealt us with the hand we have, our guys are working hard and training their socks off, working hard to improve and I trust them they will improve,” says Nienaber.
Nienaber expects a big onslaught from the French and said this would be a good test for the team with an eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup, which will be hosted in France.
“They play a little bit differently from other teams. They have a good kicking game as compared to other teams. The last time they lost was in 2021 I think. Everyone is trying to unlock this France side and nobody is getting it right. They are 11 on the Trott.”
“It’s a challenge for us as coaches and players. How do we unlock France? They have big men, a big defence, they are a stingy team. This is a different French team and as you rightfully said from the one we last faced I think in 2018,” says the Bok Coach.
There are also changes to his forward pack, with tighthead prop Frans Malherbe packing down in a new-look front row next to Ox Nche and Bongi Mbonambi at hooker, while Franco Mostert makes the jump from the bench to the starting lineup to fill the void left by injured lock Lood de Jager.
Nienaber is opting for a 5 – 3 split on the bench for this Test.