South Africa missing du Toit and de Klerk for final Lions Test

Blow for the Springboks as Jacques Nienaber names his starting lineup for Saturday

South Africa’s Pieter-Steph du Toit misses the final Test against the Lions on Saturday. Photo: Steve Haag/PA Wire

South Africa’s Pieter-Steph du Toit misses the final Test against the Lions on Saturday. Photo: Steve Haag/PA Wire

 

Third Test: South Africa v British & Irish Lions

Kick-off: 5pm, Saturday. Venue: Cape Town Stadium. How to follow: The Irish Times liveblog will begin at 4.30pm. On TV: Live on Sky Sports Rugby and Sky Sports Main Event.

The Springboks have suffered a double blow for Saturday’s third Test against the British & Irish Lions due to injuries to the influential duo of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Faf de Klerk.

Du Toit, the World Rugby Player of the Year in 2019, has been ruled out because of the shoulder injury which forced him off in the 21st minute in the Boks’ 27-9 win last Saturday and in his absence Jacques Nienaber has opted to go with the formula of three locks which finished the game by moving Franco Mostert to flanker with Lood de Jager promoted from the bench to start alongside Eben Etzebeth

Cobus Reinach replaces De Klerk, who has been ruled out due to a muscle strain in his leg which forced him off inside the last 10 minutes of the second Test.

Nienaber also reverts to a more orthodox 5-3 split on the bench, with Morne Steyn, whose long-range penalty sealed the Boks’ series win in the second Test in 2009, joining Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse. Steyn last played for the Boks against New Zealand in 2016.

“This is a massive Test for us with the Castle Lager Lions Series on the line, so it was important for us to maintain consistency in selection following on last week’s performance,” said Nienaber.

“Pieter-Steph du Toit was ruled out due to the shoulder injury he suffered last week, but we are fortunate to have experienced players such as Franco and Lood who can step in and who have the physical presence we need in those roles.

“Cobus is also an experienced player with a calm head and who can handle pressure, and we believe he will be able to dictate play well alongside Handré Pollard, while Herschel Jantjies has been great in adding the necessary spark we need off the bench, and will be asked to fulfil that role again.”

Nienaber was thrilled to see midfielder De Allende, who made his Test debut against Argentina in 2014, reach this significant career milestone. “It doesn’t get any bigger than earning a 50th Test cap in a series decider against the British & Irish Lions.

“We are excited for Damian and we know what it will mean to him and the team to win this match. He has been a key figure in the Bok team in the last few seasons and it gives us great pride to see him achieve this feat.”

Nienaber was also pleased to see Steyn back in the Bok jersey for the first time in years.

“I am delighted for Morné - he is a world class player and his work ethic and positive attitude on and off the field since joining the team in Bloemfontein has been impressive,” said the Bok coach.

“He can also perform under extreme pressure, as he shown for the Springboks and the Bulls, and that skill will be invaluable in such a vital Test.”

Nienaber also said that he is expecting an epic battle in Saturday’s series decider.

“This group of players are among a handful of players in the history of South African rugby that have an opportunity to clinch a series against the Lions after winning the Rugby World Cup, and every player in this squad understands what a rare honour that is.

“I don’t think one needs any more motivation than that to win this weekend. We are preparing for a physical encounter and we know that every small battle will count if we want to win the series.

“This match is as important to us as it is for the Lions, so we know it is going to be tight, and we will have to capitalise on every opportunity we have to score points, and be effective in every area of our game.

“As Springboks, big moments such as these excite us, so we plan to go out there and give everything we have to clinch the Series.”

Mathieu Raynal (France) will referee the match, with Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Nic Berry (Australia) serving as assistant referees, while Marius Jonker (South Africa) will be the television match official.

South Africa: Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz); Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse), Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (Munster), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks); Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier); Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers); Eben Etzebeth (Toulon), Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks); Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers).

Replacements: Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), Vincent Koch (Saracens), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Morné Steyn (Vodacom Bulls), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers).

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