Namibia coach Phil Davies has made sweeping changes to his team for the Pool B match against Springboks at City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday.
There are 10 changes from the starting line-up who lost 47-22 to Italy last Sunday. Only captain Tjiuee Uanivi, Cliven Loubser, JC Greyling, pictured, Chad Plato, and Johan Tromp return. This is the second-highest number of changes they have made between RWC matches – the highest being 11 when preparing to face Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2015.
Peter John Walters – who became the first player since 2011 to make his test debut for Namibia in a World Cup match when he came off the bench against Italy – will start at inside-centre and Eugene Jantjies will extend the Welwitschias’ all-time appearances record to 68.
AJ De Klerk is in the starting XV of a World Cup match for the first time. He has previously featured in three, all coming off the bench.
15-Johann Tromp, 14-Chad Plato, 13-JC Greyling, 12-PJ Walters, 11-Lesley Klim, 10-Cliven Loubser, 9-Eugene Jantjies, 8-Adriaan Booysen, 7-Max Katjijeko, 6-Thomasau Forbes, 5-Tjiuee Uanivi (captain), 4-Johan Retief, 3-AJ de Klerk, Louis van der Westhuizen, 1-Desiderius Sethie.
16-Obert Nortje, 17-Andre Rademeyer, 18-Johannes Coetzee, 19-Prince Gaoseb, 20-Janco Venter, 21-Wian Conradie, 22-TC Kisting, 23-Johan Deysel.
Schalk Brits has been named as the captain of the South Africa team for Saturday’s Pool B clash against Namibia at the City of Toyota Stadium.
And Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus sprung another surprise by selecting Brits, above, at number eight for the match against their southern African neighbors as he is usually a hooker.
He becomes the second-oldest Springbok to appear in the World Cup, behind Victor Matfield at RWC 2015, and starts as captain for only the second time as flanker Siya Kolisi is rested.
Brits, 38, has occasionally played as a flanker in Super Rugby for the Stormers, but while that was nearly a decade ago, Erasmus is confident that Brits can do the job.
“To have 31 guys here for what will hopefully be an eight-week tournament for us, you have to try and rotate your hookers. Sometimes when you have a third hooker, he doesn’t really get game time. This gives us an ideal opportunity to rest guys who are vital for us in the big, big games,” Erasmus said.
“We did have a specific plan when we named him captain for the Argentina game. He is experienced, and the calming factor he has for the guys who are almost the fringe players – they have been working really hard, and haven’t really had game time for a couple of weeks now.
“He will have that effect on them, and hopefully that will come through versus Namibia.”
Centre Jesse Kriel was not considered for the Namibia match due to a hamstring injury he sustained against New Zealand. Kriel has watched from the sidelines at training this week, but the Bok coach is hopeful that he will be able to play in the two remaining Pool B matches against Italy and Canada.
“Jesse has a slight hamstring … I wouldn’t even say strain. It is just a bump on the hamstring, which we think is a week (long) injury. He will hopefully be available next week. I’m pretty sure in the next seven to 10 days, he will be available,” said Erasmus.
Naming his side on Wednesday, Erasmus made 13 changes to the side that lost 23-13 to the All Blacks in Yokohama.
There is a new back-three combination of Warrick Gelant, S’Busiso Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi – although Mapimpi did start against New Zealand. Brits will be joined by Kwagga Smith and Francois Louw in the back row.
Mapimpi has scored eight tries in nine appearances for the Springboks but is yet to score his first RWC try. Prop Thomas du Toit, who was called up as an injury replacement for Trevor Nyakane last Monday, has made it into the match-day 23 and will be on the bench.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Schalk Brits (captain), 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Steven Kitshoff, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Eben Etzebeth, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Damian de Allende, 23 Cheslin Kolbe
Story: Developed from World Rugby