Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made two injury-enforced changes to his matchday squad for their final Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Gold Coast, with Ox Nché earning a starting berth and Jasper Wiese being drafted in among the replacements.
Nché will start at loosehead prop with Trevor Nyakane switching to tighthead after Frans Malherbe was ruled out of selection due to a neck niggle, while Wiese takes over from Marco van Staden, who suffered a shoulder injury in the latter stages of last week’s 19-17 defeat against the All Blacks in Townsville.
Cheslin Kolbe, who missed the team’s first two matches against the Wallabies and last week’s outing against the All Blacks due to a leg injury, trained with the team on Monday and Tuesday, but he was unable to complete the last training session, which dashed his hopes of making a comeback.
The match at the CBUS Super Stadium kicks off at 20h05 (09h05 SA time) and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
“We made a big step-up in terms of our performance last week and having reviewed the match, there is no doubt we delivered a performance worthy of a victory,” said Nienaber.
“With that in mind we opted for continuity in our team, so the only change in the run-on side is Ox taking over in the front row after Frans was ruled out.
“Trevor is a seasoned campaigner who is equally comfortable at loosehead and tighthead prop, and Ox is a strong scrummager, so we are looking forward to seeing what they can do in the scrums.
“Cheslin would have started the match if he made a full recovery from the leg injury which has kept him out since the beginning of our Australian tour, but unfortunately his injury flared up during the latter stages of Tuesday’s field session, so we could not select him.
“On the bench, Jasper takes over from Marco, and we are fortunate in that they are similar in terms of their physicality and strong ball-carrying abilities.”
Nienaber stressed the importance of turning the corner after three successive defeats on tour and said the entire squad was aligned in terms of what their roles were to steer the team to a much-needed win.
“We are bitterly disappointed about the results in the last few weeks and everyone in our team realises the importance of finishing the Castle Lager Rugby Championship on a winning note,” said Nienaber.
“Every member of squad will have a role to play in ensuring that the players on the field are at their best on match-day, and we have no doubt that if we can build on the strong points of our game last week and improve further on the execution of our game plan, we can get the desired result.
“We know it is going to take a colossal 80-minute effort, but the drive to succeed and motivation to win this weekend is as big as it gets.
“Last week we stuck to our DNA and style of play, and with a little more luck we could have come away with the result, so we need to ensure that we are better at it this week.
“We are ready for this challenge mentally and physically and we know what we are capable of as a team, so we’ll go out there and give everything we have.”
Matthew Carley (England) has been appointed the match referee with Australia’s Damon Murphy and Jordan Way (Australia) serving as assistant referees, and their compatriot Brett Cronan is on TMO duty.
Springbok team to face New Zealand in Gold Coast:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 69 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks) – 15 caps, 45 pts (9t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 22 caps, 25 pts (5t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 54 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 21 caps, 80 pts (16t)
10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 56 caps, 556 pts (6t, 83c, 116p, 4d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) – 35 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls) – 57 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 15 caps, 5 pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 59 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 52 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 93 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 50 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 44 caps, 45 pts (9t)
1 – Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 5 caps, 0pts
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 42 caps, 45 pts (9t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 55 caps, 5pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 27 caps, 0 pts
19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 47 caps, 5pts (1t)
20 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 7 caps, 0 pts
21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 17 caps, 25 pts (5t)
22 – Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes) – 40 caps, 300 pts (2t, 64c, 54p)
23 – Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 70 caps, 141pts (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)
Springbok record against New Zealand:
Played 100; Won 36, Lost 60, Drawn 4; Points for 1594, Points against 2069; Tries scored 154, Tries conceded 226; Highest score 46 pts, Biggest win 17 pts; Win %: 36%.
- Sbu Nkosi, Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx need one more try to get to take their Test tally to 10 tries and 50 points.
- This encounter will be Siya Kolisi’s 30th Test match as captain, surpassing Francois Pienaar to become the fourth most capped Springbok captain behind John Smit (83), Jean de Villiers (37), and Gary Teichmann (36).
- Frans Steyn needs to score nine more points to earn 150 Test points.
- The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is
- There are 272 caps in the backline with 375 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 305
- The average caps per player in the backline are 38 the forwards 46 while the players on the bench average 38.
Munster Confirm Three New Signings
Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm the signing of Oli Jager from the Crusaders with the tighthead prop signing a contract until the summer of 2027.
Hooker Eoghan Clarke is rejoining Munster on a short-term contract with back three player Colm Hogan also returning on a short-term deal.
Jager will join the province in the coming weeks with his contract beginning at the start of December.
Born in London, Jager started out at Naas RFC before playing schools rugby at Newbridge College and Blackrock College. He lined out for the Ireland U18 Schools team in 2013 before moving to Canterbury in New Zealand at the age of 17.
Initially attending the Crusaders International High Performance Unit, he earned a place in the Crusaders Academy in 2014. After impressing with New Brighton RFC, he earned a place in the Canterbury squad for the Mitre 10 Cup in 2016.
Jager made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2017 and has been a key member of their squad for the past seven years, winning seven consecutive Super Rugby titles.
Eoghan Clarke spent three years in the Munster Academy before departing for Jersey Reds in March 2021. A former Ireland U20 international, Clarke won the English Championship with Jersey Reds last season before the club went into liquidation last month.
Colm Hogan, who has lined out for Ireland U20 and Munster A in the past, played his schools rugby with Glenstal Abbey. He captained Dublin University in the AIL and also had a spell with Colomiers in the PRO D2 while studying in France.
The 26-year-old played for Leinster against Chile last year and lined out with recent Munster arrival Alex Nankivell for Tasman Mako in the NPC this year.
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Key All Black announces sabbatical to play in Japan
All Blacks captain Sam Cane will take up a sabbatical option in his New Zealand Rugby (NZR) contract in 2024 to play a season for Suntory in Japan League One.
The 31-year-old, 95-Test loose forward will miss the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, but will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
Cane, who is contracted to NZR through to the end of 2025, said he was looking forward to experiencing a new playing environment with Suntory and learning more about a new culture in Japan.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 came up it felt like the right time following the Rugby World Cup to try something new and also a great chance to continue to grow and learn in my rugby and life journey. I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby for their support to take this opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to skip a season with the Chiefs, but I know the team is in a great place and has an incredible group of leaders in the squad and the coaching group to have a successful 2024, and I’m really pleased to be able to return in time to put my best foot forward for selection in the All Blacks.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said:
“Sam’s decision to take a sabbatical in 2024 has our full support and we wish him and his family all the best for their time in Japan. There are very few players who have given as much as he has to the jerseys he’s worn in his career to date and it’s a mark of his commitment to the All Blacks that he will return and make himself available for the Test season.”
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sam has given everything to this team on and off the field and deserves to take this opportunity to experience something different. He is an exceptional player and influential leader who has been an integral part of the Gallagher Chiefs for many years. We wish him and his family all the best and hope they enjoy their time in Japan after a full-on year.”
Key All Black commits to Gallagher Chiefs until 2025
Dominant loose forward Luke Jacobson has extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, Waikato and New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2025.
The 18-test All Black was a consistent starter for the Gallagher Chiefs this year and a key element of their outstanding DHL Super Rugby Pacific performances. He consequently went on to be named in the All Blacks squad to travel to France.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is delighted to have Jacobson sticking around for another two seasons.
“Luke is an outstanding player; he’s a workhorse, a consistent performer and considered a real warrior within our group. Luke leads by example both on and off the field. He isnt one to waste words and prefers to let his actions speak for themself. In the absence of some senior players who have moved on, I have no doubt Luke will play an integral part providing the leadership and guidance our younger players will be looking for”.
Jacobson has impressed throughout his career, playing for the New Zealand U20s team twice and captaining them in his second season to win the 2017 U20 World Championship title. This aptitude for leadership has seen him pull on the Gallagher Chiefs captain’s armband on multiple occasions.
Waikato Rugby head coach Ross Filipo is excited about Luke extending his career with Waikato. “He is a great man and a great leader who continues to make huge contributions on and off the field and always represents the region with pride.”
Speaking on his signing Jacobson said: “I’m stoked to signing on with the Waikato, Chiefs and NZR for another two years. I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”
The 2024 Gallagher Chiefs squad will be named later this year ahead of assembling for pre-season training.