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Elton Jantjies to captain new-look SA ‘A’ team

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    Posted: 16-Jul-2021 at 3:10pm

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made wholesale changes to South Africa ‘A’ for their clash against the Vodacom Bulls at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, with flyhalf Elton Jantjies leading the squad that features nine Rugby World Cup winners.


The encounter, which kicks off at 13h00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport, will be followed by the clash between the DHL Stormers and British & Irish Lions at the same venue at 18h00 as the Castle Lager Lions Series nears the highly-anticipated Test Series, starting on Saturday, 24 July.


Nienaber, who made the trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Friday morning with a host of players who will begin their return-to-play protocols after recovering from COVID-19, made 12 changes to the starting team in line with his strategy to give as many players as possible the chance to stake a claim for places in the Test team.


Only three players who started in the team’s 17-13 win against the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday retained their places in the starting team – Damian de Allende (centre), Marco van Staden (flank) and Joseph Dweba (hooker).


Aphelele Fassi (fullback), Rosko Specman (wing), Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf), Kwagga Smith (No 8), all of whom started in the Test against Georgia two weeks ago, are back in the starting lineup.


Fassi, who made his Test debut at wing, will form an exciting back three with Specman and the uncapped Yaw Penxe, while exciting centre Wandisile Simelane will join forces with the experienced De Allende in the midfield.


Nienaber named a physical loose trio featuring Smith, Rynhardt Elstadt and Van Staden, while Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg is promoted from the bench to the starting team where he will start alongside Jean-Luc du Preez in the second row.


Dweba, meanwhile, will pack down with vice-captain Vincent Koch and Coenie Oosthuizen in the front row.


The expanded replacements bench also has a completely different look to it with Fez Mbatha, Lizo Ggoboka, Thomas du Toit and Wilco Louw – who joined the squad earlier in the week as additional prop cover – named alongside Jasper Wiese, Sanele Nohamba, Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, and Damian Willemse.


“We wanted another SA ‘A’ match to give all the players a chance to show what they are capable of before we enter the Test Series against the British & Irish Lions, and we are excited to give these players this valuable opportunity,” said Nienaber.


“With several changes to the matchday squad, there won’t be much continuity from Wednesday’s match, but the game time and the chance for these players to show what they can offer on the field will be invaluable with an eye on improving our match fitness and building momentum before we enter the Test Series.”


Nienaber was thrilled to be back with the squad after having to watch the SA ‘A’ team take on the British & Irish Lions from Johannesburg and said: “It’s great to be back with the squad and to be able to interact with the players and management staff.


“I joined all our coaching sessions and team meetings online during my COVID-19 isolation period, so it is a real pleasure to be back in the team set-up and coaching on the field.”


The Bok coach looked forward to the clash and said: “The Vodacom Bulls have been a force to be reckoned with in domestic rugby since rugby resumed late last year after a long absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are expecting a good match-up.


“We want to make the most of this opportunity to build on our structures and systems and also to tick certain boxes before the Test matches against the British & Irish Lions.”


Marius van der Westhuizen will be the referee in this match, with Rasta Rasivhenge and Aimee Barrett-Theron his assistants, while Marius Jonker is the TMO.


South Africa ‘A’ team to face the Vodacom Bulls at Cape Town Stadium:

15. Aphelele Fassi

14. Yaw Penxe

13. Wandisile Simelane

12. Damian de Allende

11. Rosko Specman

10. Elton Jantjies (captain)

9. Cobus Reinach

8. Kwagga Smith

7. Rynhardt Elstadt

6. Marco van Staden

5. Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg

4. Jean-Luc du Preez

3. Vincent Koch

2. Joseph Dweba

1. Coenie Oosthuizen


16. Fez Mbatha

17. Thomas du Toit

18. Wilco Louw

19. Japser Wiese

20. Sanele Nohamba

21. Sbu Nkosi

22. Jesse Kriel

23. Damian Willemse

24. Lizo Gqoboka

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Transvaal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jul-2021 at 12:35pm
Ek sien nou eers die SA A span het verloor teen die Bulle...oops
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Good and bad for Nienaber from SA ‘A’ defeat

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber expressed his disappointment in the 17-14 defeat South Africa ‘A’ suffered to the Vodacom Bulls at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday and said the result did matter in the bigger scheme of things.

A much-changed SA ‘A’ side could not replicate same spirited effort from their 17-13 victory over the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday night against the men from Pretoria, who edged the win through a late penalty goal after both sides scored two converted tries.

“We wanted this match for a number of reasons, and I am happy that we managed to play today,” said Nienaber.

“We needed three games to get our ducks in a row before the Test series and we got that. The result was not what we had hoped for, but a number of questions were answered, especially with regards to the readiness of individual players and their readiness for selection.

“I wanted the guys to stake a claim for selection for next week’s Test and unfortunately, not everyone did that, but I am not going to discuss individuals – any comments on them will be emotional, because we are hurting.

“As a team, the performance was not there, and I blame myself for that as well. The lack of dominance from our pack was not what we had expected. With the late confirmation of the game, we also did not do any analysis on the Bulls and that showed, while I did expect a better set-piece platform.”

Nienaber praised the Vodacom Bulls on their performance: “The Bulls were good and desperate, and they showed how much they wanted it. The disappointing part is that they wanted it more as a team.”

Nienaber said most of the players in the Springbok squad managed to get valuable game in the last few days.

“As there were places up for grabs in the Test team, we will do a proper review,” he said.

“At the moment, we have two hookers out due to COVID protocols (Bongi Mbonambi and Scarra Ntubeni), and we needed to see what Joseph Dweba and Fez Mbatha can do.

“And another couple of players got some valuable game time – Damian (De Allende) played 60 minutes, Kwagga (Smith) 80, and Damian Willemse had another run at centre.”

Nienaber said they will set their sights on the first Test from Sunday: “We will look at physical readiness and consider COVID protocols before we select our team and, in that regard, will be guided by our medical team.

“We will consider a number of factors before deciding to select players who have not played for the Boks in the last couple of years, like how long we have worked with them, their training stats and factors other like that.

“Some players who have been in our mix will slot back in more easily than others. But we will have a proper medical feedback session tomorrow so will make a call who will be in line for Test selection.”

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