Lionel Mapoe will replace Jesse Kriel at outside centre in the only change to the Springbok line-up for the second Castle Lager Incoming Series Test match against France in Durban on Saturday.Springbok coach Allister Coetzee named an otherwise unchanged team on Thursday for the second encounter against Les Blues at the Growthpoint Kings Park, which kicks off at 17h05.
Mapoe returns to the Springbok starting line-up as replacement for Kriel, who is unavailable after he suffered a blow to the head last Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.
All five players who made their Test debuts last weekend – Andries Coetzee (fullback), Raymond Rhule (right wing), Courtnall Skosan (left wing), Ross Cronje (scrumhalf) and Dillyn Leyds (outside back) – were retained by Coetzee, who said he wanted to maintain continuity and build momentum.
“We kept changes to a minimum and one change to the squad means we can continue to work on our continuity, which is so important,” said Coetzee.
“This is a new group, so playing together again means that the important combinations are gaining more experience. It is also nice to reward good performances and all of them deserve another opportunity.”
Coetzee said the Springboks worked hard during training this week and called for improvements in all areas of their game, especially as the French are expected to be bolstered this week with the inclusion of several players from Clermont and Toulon, who were not available for the opening Test.
With Kriel not available for the Durban encounter, the Springbok coach explained that the decision to select Mapoe next to Serfontein was an easy one.
“Jan Serfontein had a very good match at inside centre in Pretoria and we wanted a specialist at No 13 as replacement for Jesse, so Mapoe is a logical choice. It also means we’re preventing making two changes to the team,” said Coetzee.
The Springbok coach reckons France will no doubt increase their physicality and effort in the second Test.
“The forward battle will always be a very important part of the game,” said Coetzee.
“We know we will be up against a very well prepared French team in the second Test and we are readying ourselves for that. They would like to bounce back and we would like to continue with our processes. Both teams have a lot to too play for.
“Although not perfect, I’m pleased with the set-pieces and expect a huge onslaught from the French in both areas. We created a number of scoring opportunities, which is a great positive, and hopefully our execution will be better this time.”
The Springbok team to face France in Durban:
15. Andries Coetzee (Emirates Lions), 1 caps, 0 points
14. Raymond Rhule (Toyota Cheetahs), 1, 0
13. Lionel Mapoe (Emirates Lions), 11, 0
12. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Bulls), 27, 15 (3t)
11. Courtnall Skosan (Emirates Lions), 1, 0
10. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), 12, 95 (16c, 21p)
9. Ross Cronje (Emirates Lions), 1, 5 (1t)
8. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions, captain), 16, 15 (3t)
7. Oupa Mohoje (Toyota Cheetahs), 16, 0
6. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), 17, 0
5. Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions), 8, 0
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), 55, 10 (2t)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), 16, 0
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 3, 0
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 88, 10 (2t)
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 6, 0
17. Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux-Bègles, France), 11, 0
18. Coenie Oosthuizen (Cell C Sharks), 24, 15 (3t)
19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 22, 15 (3t)
20. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks), 2, 0
21. Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors, England), 40, 25 (5t)
22. Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France), 54, 132 (10t, 5c, 21p, 3d)
23. Dillyn Leyds (DHL Stormers), 1, 0
Interesting facts and milestones:
•The Test at Growthpoint Kings Park will be the 41st Test match against France. Of the previous 40 Test matches, 22 were played in South Africa and 18 in France. Of the 22 local Tests, six were played in Durban. Of the six matches played in Durban, three were drawn.
•The overall Springbok record for the six Test matches against France in Durban is: P 6; W3, D3; PF: 123; PA: 91; TF: 12; TA: 7; Average score: 21-15. Win%: 50%.
•South Africa’s record against France at home: P: 22; W: 11; L: 6; D: 5; PF: 475; PA: 336; Win%: 50%.
•South Africa’s overall record against France: P: 40; W: 23; L: 11; D: 6; PF: 820; PA: 592; Win%: 58%.
Squad for second Test against France:
•The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 273. There are 54 caps in the backline with 219 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 159 caps.
•The average caps per player in the backline are eight, the forwards 27 while the players on the bench average 20.
•The average age of the starting 15 is 26.
Did you know:
•The tallest player in the squad is Eben Etzebeth (2.04m) and the shortest Elton Jantjies and Bongi Mbonambi (1.76m). The heaviest players are Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff (125kg) and the lightest players are Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronjé and Dillan Leyds (85kg).
•Tendai Mtawarira will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok prop, with 88 caps in this position. He is the third most experienced Springbok forward with only Victor Matfield and John Smit with more career Test matches.
•Elton Jantjies needs five points to reach 100 points in Test rugby.
•Frans Steyn needs 18 points to reach 150 points in Test rugby.
•The referee is Ben O’Keeffe of New Zealand. He was born on 3 January, 1989 in Auckland, New Zealand and made his Test debut as a referee on 11 June, 2016 in a Test between Samoa and Georgia.
•To date, he has refereed four Test matches and this will be his first Springbok Test.
•The assistant referees are Glen Jackson of New Zealand and Angus Gardner of Australia.
•Rowan Kitt of England will again officiate as TMO.
Springbok Test match record holders at Growthpoint Kings Park:
•Growthpoint Kings Park has a seating capacity of 53 102.
•Most points: 31 by Morné Steyn (1t, 1c, 8p) against New Zealand, 1 August, 2009.
•Most tries: 5 by Stefan Terblanche against Italy, 19 June, 1999.
•Most conversions: 8 by Gaffie du Toit against Italy, 19 June, 1999.
•Most penalty goals: 8 by Morné Steyn against New Zealand, 1 August, 2009.
•Most drop goals: 3 by Naas Botha against South America, 3 May, 1980 and against Ireland, 6 June, 1981.
Springbok Test match career record holders at Growthpoint Kings Park:
•Most points: 78 by Morné Steyn (2t, 10c, 16p).
•Most tries: 7 by Stefan Terblanche.
•Most conversions: 11 by Percy Montgomery.
•Most penalty goals: 16 by Morné Steyn.
•Most drop goals: 6 by Naas Botha.
France Test match record holders at Growthpoint Kings Park:
•Most points: 15 by Thierry Lacroix (5p), 17 June, 1995 and by Gerald Merceron (4p, 1d), 23 June, 2001.
•Most tries: 1 by seven players in four Test matches between 1967 and 2005.
•Most conversions: 2 by Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 18 June, 2005.
•Most penalty goals: 5 by Thierry Lacroix, 17 June, 1995.
•Most drop goals: 1 by five players in four Test matches between 1971 and 2005.