Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made eight changes and two positional switches to his matchday squad to face England at Twickenham on Saturday in the final Castle Lager Outgoing Tour clash, with a handful of South Africa ‘A’ players and Canan Moodie, who joined the team as reinforcements this week, getting a run.
Nienaber’s made six changes to his starting team with Jesse Kriel (centre), Makazole Mapimpi (wing), Evan Roos (No 8) and Eben Etzebeth (lock) back in the mix, while Damian de Allende moves from outside centre to inside centre where he partners up with Kriel, and Kurt-Lee Arendse will start at right wing after playing on the left in Genoa.
There were also four changes on the replacements bench, which will again feature the more traditional split of five forwards and three backs, with SA ‘A’ captain Thomas du Toit (prop), Marco van Staden (flanker), Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf) and Moodie being drafted in.
This follows the unavailability of Cheslin Kolbe (wing), Andre Esterhuizen (centre), Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf), Jasper Wiese (No 8) and Vincent Koch (prop), who all returned to their clubs.
“With this Test falling outside the international Test window, we knew we would have to make changes to the team, but we are pleased with the depth we have built in the wider squad in the last few months, and it is paying off for us this week,” said Nienaber.
“Every player in this squad has played Test rugby, and most of them have received game time at this level thanks our selection plan throughout the season and the SA ‘A’ games against Munster and Bristol.
“We are very excited to see what this group of players will do against a quality England side given the mix of talented young players who have been putting up their hands and the experienced guys who have come a long way with us over the last few years.”
Nienaber added: “As with all competitions we can only select a limited number of players, so we have had to be creative with balancing building player combinations and giving the young players a chance to show us what they can do at top Test level and this game gives us a golden opportunity to do so.
“It doesn’t get bigger than playing against England at a packed Twickenham in the last Test of the season for a player, and one can sense the excitement among the players about this occasion.”
Nienaber expected a massive onslaught from England, who snatched a 25-25 draw against New Zealand last week after being edged by Argentina and then registering a convincing victory against Japan.
“England will enter this match with the same mindset as us – to finish the season on a high note after a tough November campaign, and to build momentum with an eye on the World Cup,” said Nienaber.
“So, we are expecting them to throw everything they have at us. They are a well-balanced team with a strong pack of forwards and exciting backs, and they are well coached, so we know it is going to be an epic encounter.
“We lost against them by one point in our last two matches at Twickenham and the last time we beat them in London was in 2014, so we have to be accurate in all areas of our game, effective in our execution and we need to covert our chances into points.
“This is the last time the squad will be together in competition until next June, so the players really want to make the most of this opportunity and to make the country proud.
“We had two narrow defeats against the top two teams in the world in Ireland and France and we defeated Italy, and it would be fantastic if we could finish the tour on a high note.”
Springbok team to face England at Twickenham:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 82 caps, 65 pts (13t)
14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 6 caps, 30 pts (6t)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 58 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 69 caps, 45 pts (9t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 35 caps, 110 pts (22t)
10 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 26 caps, 35 pts (3t, 4c, 4p)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 45 caps, 30 pts (5t, 1c, 1p)
8 – Evan Roos (DHL Stormers) – 2 caps, 0 pts
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 62 caps, 15 pts (3t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 74 caps, 45 pts (9t)
5 – Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 10 caps, 0 pts
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 109 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 57 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks) – 55 caps, 60 pts (12t)
1 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 18 caps, 0 pts
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 58 caps, 70 pts (14t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 70 caps, 10 pts (2t)
18 – Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks) – 14 caps, 0 pts
19 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 9 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 30 caps, 20 pts (4t)
21 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) – 11 caps, 12 pts (2t, 1c)
22 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 2 cap, 10 pts (5c)
23 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 3 caps, 5 pts (1t)
Springbok record against England:
Played 44; Won 26; Lost 16; Drawn 2; Points for: 945, Points against: 756; Tries scored 86, Tries conceded 57; Highest score 58-10; Biggest win 48 points. Win % 59%.
- Siya Kolisi is the second most capped Springbok captain having led the side in 44 Test matches.
- Eben Etzebeth is the second most capped Springbok lock with 109 Tests.
- The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 708.
- There are 322 caps in the backline, with 387 caps among the forwards. On the bench there are a further 197 caps.
- The average caps per player in the backline are 46, the forwards 48, while the players on the bench average 24.
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.