As the rugby world braces itself for the third round of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, the Vodacom Bulls get set to host a hungry Connacht team at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening.
The hosts have made six changes to the team that narrowly emerged victorious last weekend against Edinburgh. Vodacom Bulls fans will be treated by the return of inform Springboks, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie and Sbu Nkosi. Arendse and Moodie, both of whom quickly became fan favorites at Loftus with their electric pace and insane steps, will be high on confidence after both made their Springbok debuts in the last few weeks, scoring three tries collectively. While Nkosi, no stranger to the Green and Gold but only having made one appearance for the Bulls thus far, will also be looking to win over the Loftus faithful.
Cornal Hendricks will partner David Kriel in the midfield, while Johan Goosen gets his first start in the ten jersey since returning from a long term injury that kept him out of the game for eleven months. The ever-industrious and busy Zac Burger retains his spot at scrumhalf.
The loose-trio gets a little shuffle as Marco van Staden starts at seven with Ruan Vermaak dropping out for this game and joining the Vodacom Bulls XV that face the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. Captain Marcell Coetzee continues doing what he does best in the six jersey, with returning Springbok, Elrigh Louw, remaining in his ‘happy-place’ with the number eight on his back. Ruan Nortje and Walt Steenkamp have formed a formidable pairing in the engine room over the last season, and will continue their dominance for this game.
Francois Klopper earns a well-deserved start at tighthead, as Mornay Smith drops to the bench, with Johan Grobbelaar and Gerhard Steenekamp at hooker and loosehead respectively.
Jake White, BBCo Director of Rugby, is looking forward to the return of the Bulls-Boks, “It’s always nice having Springboks come back, especially when they are looking as good as Canan and Kurt-Lee. Sbu didn’t get a run out for the Boks but his confidence will still be high having been part of the group. I have no doubt that he is raring to go, and this is his chance.”
“Connacht is a dangerous team. We saw that in the last competition when they gave us a good smack in Galway. A lot has changed since then, and we know what we have to do this weekend.”
The game kicks off at 18h30, on Friday 30 September.
15 Kurt-Lee Arendse; 14 Canan Moodie; 13 Cornal Hendricks; 12 David Kriel; 11 Sbu Nkosi; 10 Johan Goosen; 9 Zak Burger; 8 Elrigh Louw; 7 Marco van Staden; 6 Marcel Coetzee; 5 Ruan Nortje; 4 Walt Steenkamp; 3 Francois Klopper; 2 Johan Grobbelaar; 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels; 17 Simphiwe Matanzima; 18 Mornay Smith; 19 Janko Swanepoel; 20 Reinhardt Ludwig; 21 Embrose Papier; 22 Chris Smith; 23 Lionel Mapoe
POINTS OF INTEREST:
• Vodacom Bulls have lost just one of their last eight Vodacom United Rugby Championship matches, last season’s final to the DHL Stormers in Cape Town.
• Vodacom Bulls have won their last eight fixtures at Loftus Versfeld in the VURC since losing there 22-29 to the Cell C Sharks on 12 February.
• Vodacom Bulls have won their last three matches against Irish provinces since today opponents, Connacht, beat them 34-7 in Galway on 1 October 2021.
• Connacht’s only win in their last four BKT United Rugby Championship matches was 22-20 at home to Zebre on 1 May.
• The Irishmen have not won away from home since beating Emirates Lions in Johannesburg in April.
• Connacht have lost their last two matches against South African opponents whilst their record in South Africa is, won four, lost three.
• The two sides have met just once before with Connacht running out victors twelve months ago.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
Hingis, 41, who won five Grand Slam singles titles in thee late 1990s, and Halep, 31 with two major titles in the bag, will feature at the Africa Cares Tennis Challenge in December.
The challenge is set for 3 and 4 December at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. The two-day tournament will see both international and local tennis stars in action.
Romanian Halep expressed her gratitude to be a part of the event. “As a tennis player I have been inspired by many and am always pushing to the highest level, so it is definitely an honour to encourage the same through this event, while giving awareness towards the issues of Gender-Based Violence,” said Halep.
The event aims to not only promote tennis in South Africa but is also a vehicle in the fight against Gender-Based Violence through campaigns and activations leading up to the main event. “Women in South Africa are five times more likely to be killed as a result of gender-based violence. As a protest and plea to stop GBV in South Africa we saw it fit to host the Africa Cares Tennis Challenge,” said Tendai Rukwava, CEO of TR Brand Communications & Events.
Tickets for the event will go on sale from Friday, 30 September at Ticketpro.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
A World Cup winner, a seasoned club cricketer and a man that has shared the same changeroom on tour with some of the most recognised Proteas of the 21st century – in Non-Independent Director Simphiwe Ndzundzu, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has a real gem sitting on its Board.
Apart from his achievements in the game, this individual is a former policeman with special expertise in forensics and labour law, someone that understands all the dynamics of fraud, corruption, and maladministration, to name a few of his distinguished attributes.
Yet, Border Cricket President Ndzundzu, who celebrates his 52nd birthday this Saturday, October 1, has a whole different side to him that not many know about.
He was born and raised in the township of Kwa Masingatha, close to King William's Town, in the Eastern Cape – an area recognised as a hotbed of South African sportsmen and women.
“I came from a village where only two sporting codes were played, rugby and cricket,” he recounts.
“So I grew up playing the game with a tennis ball in the streets. From there I moved to playing with a hard ball in rural cricket and that was the way things started for me.
“If you look at the history of black cricket, you will find that it was introduced early and it was a well-established code in the Eastern Cape when I grew up. I also come from a family that played the game.
“Peter Bacela, a Protea himself and one of the best coaches ever, mentored us for a long time and my brother Brian was the first black African to play for Border. He was extremely talented.”
As Ndzundzu grew older, he became a key figure at Good Hope Cricket Club, first as a player and later as an administrator.
A top-order batsman, he represented the club in the Eastern Cape Premier League for many years, and whilst at the University of Fort Hare during the early 1990s, was part of a South Africa Students team that toured Zimbabwe and Kenya. Amongst the touring party were the likes of Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener, players who would go on to become iconic figures for the Proteas.
For Ndzundzu, though, life had other callings and he went on to serve his country in a completely different form, via the South African Police Services (SAPS). He nonetheless continued playing and even went on to win the Police Cricket World Cup in Australia during his four-year stint in the force either side of the year 2000.
Ndzundzu then moved on to work for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in various divisions, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, Eastern Cape Department of Health, the Eastern Cape Provincial Treasury, Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform and SOLA Forensic and Labour Consulting where he is today. He is also an independent contractor at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration.
After leaving SAPS, time became a factor and he opted to move away from the cricket field and into the cricket boardroom at his club.
“Our president at Good Hope Cricket Club said to us that one of us needs to join the administration so that there was succession planning, and I was the one that was invited, that was the start of a different journey for me,” Ndzundzu says.
Nearly 20 years later, the 51-year-old is still going strong. He has been a selector for Border, a board member for both Border and Eastern Cape and been part of the CSA Members’ Council.
And now occupying another key position within the game’s mother body, he is trying to make a difference in terms of governing cricket better. Ndzundzu has a few matters he is trying to address.
“For me the major issue that needs to be looked at within CSA is to ensure that all affiliates are sustainable,” he explained. “There has to be a well-directed effort in order to achieve this target.
“What will guide is equity and inclusivity and when I say this, I mean we must show that in terms of action of decision-making, in terms of contents, in terms of the programs, there is inclusivity and diversity as well. This needs to be done to show that cricket is not an elite sport; it is played all over the country. These are key things that need to be achieved.
“Over the years we’ve had the elite side and then what I can call the ‘B’ affiliates. This is not sustainable. To be sustainable, we need to make all the affiliates strong. To me that will be the game-changer for CSA and that is key to development of the game, something that will show that it is accessible to all.”
So how does Ndzundzu plan to achieve these goals?
“To get there I would say we need to drive certain policies,” he adds. “There has to be a policy that speaks to content, there has to be a policy that speaks to recognition of development. You’ll find that the so-called top teams, take talent from these so-called ‘B’ affiliates.
“They are stripping their talent and not producing their own. This is a problem for me and are amongst important policy decisions that have to be taken. Others also need to recognise the unique circumstances that makes up each affiliate, like their rural nature. These are realities and priorities that should be addressed in order to take the game forward.
“I really am not happy with the pace of transformation. We need to see more being done within the rural areas, not just promising players being taken out from these townships and villages and sent to fancy schools. No…that is not transformation. I want to see more being done in that respect. Yes, the leadership may be transformed, but is the mind transformed to make sure that we’re driving this whole program correctly? That is where we are lacking.”
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
South African tennis fans will be excited to hear that the Africa Cares Tennis Challenge event is back after being postponed due to the discovery of the Covid-19 omicron variant causing travel restrictions just weeks before the event was set to take place last year.
The event is set to take place from 3 to 4 December at Wanderers stadium. This will be a two-day tennis tournament that will see both international and local tennis sensations showcase their talent, for a good cause. The players participating will be announced over the next couple of weeks through the Africa Cares Tennis social media platforms
The event aims to not only promote tennis in South Africa but is also a vehicle in the fight against Gender-Based Violence through campaigns and activations leading up to the main event. Therefore fans can expect to enjoy and embrace the concept of tennis whilst also highlighting the issue of gender-based violence in South Africa which has now been perceived as a threat to humanity and the CEO of TR Brand and Communications & Events and Representative of Africa Cares highlighted the importance of this event. “Women in South Africa are 5 times more likely to be killed as a result of gender-based violence. As a protest and plea to stop GBV in South Africa we saw it fit to host the Africa Cares Tennis Challenge.
We want to use the impact of sport to help inspire positive change” – Tendai Rukwava, CEO of TR Brand Communications &Events. Earlier in the year in partnership with Mercedes Benz Sandton, Africa Cares Tennis Challenge hosted the Gender-Based Violence Power Breakfast. It was held under the theme ‘How industry leaders can play their part in the fight against GBV’. Leading up to this event was also a Tennis Masterclass that was hosted by Miles Maclagan in May at the University of Pretoria in South Africa where he shared his knowledge on how South African tennis coaches can better their coaching skills. Not only did the coaches benefit from this clinic but young and aspiring future professional tennis players engaged with Miles Maclagan.
Tendai Rukwava, CEO of TR Brand Communications & Events and Representative of the Africa Cares Tennis Event said, “After having to postpone the Africa Cares Event, we are very excited for December.
Some organizations supporting the event include Unicef South Africa, MOT, Sun International, Mercedes Benz Sandton, Dunlop, SABC Sport and Gauteng North Tennis Development”.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said his team had to break out of the blocks with intensity from the get-go in their Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash against Argentina at Estadio Libertadores De América in Buenos Aires in their penultimate match of the competition on Saturday.
The Springboks need to win the match and preferably with a bonus point to remain in the title race and Kolisi and Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick were bracing themselves for a big battle.
“It helped a lot in our preparation that we could adapt to the conditions and time zone in Argentina over an extended time and also to have time to explore and experience the similarities between South Africa and Argentina,” said Kolisi.
“We are expecting a tough battle against the hosts, and we know have to bring as much intensity as possible from the outset because they start games strongly.”
Kolisi added: “We had a good week-and-a-half of training and a few days off as well last week, so we are looking forward to the clash.”
Stick spoke equally highly of Los Pumas and said: “Argentinean people are very passionate about their country, and there is a lot of motivation around what they do. They also play for their supporters so we know that if we don’t pitch up on the day we can get punished. We saw what they did against Australia.
“There are no easy games in this competition, so we must be switched on. They selected a strong team, and we know what we have to be prepared for.”
Stick was excited to see the same backline in action with Damian Willemse earning another start at flyhalf and said building momentum was vital for the team.
“The main thing for us is to get better in the way we play,” said Stick. “It is also good to have players such as Damian and Willie (le Roux) that like to take opportunities, so if Argentina lifts the intensity, we’ll be able to adapt to that world.”
Stick said he was excited to see Willemse getting another run at flyhalf: “I’m happy to see him get another chance to play No 10. He’s a special player and he is becoming more mature in his game. I’m happy to see him grow as a player and hopefully he’ll get even better.”
Kolisi emphasised the importance of protecting the ball at the breakdowns against a strong Argentinian loose trio and said: “It will be important to stick to our game plan. Their loose forwards are all good and off the ball, so we need to look after the ball at the breakdowns and make sure we make use of the opportunities we create in the match.”
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
The Vodacom Bulls will go into their Vodacom United Rugby Championship season-opening match against the Emirates Lions with a strong match-day squad which includes three debutants in the starting XV.
New No8, Mihlali Mosi, the only new face in the forwards pack, will make his Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom URC debut when he scrums down alongside captain Marcell Coetzee and Ruan Vermaak to complete the starting loose trio.
Springbok winger, S’bu Nkosi, and fullback, Wandisile Simelane, will also don the Vodacom Bulls’ blue jumper for the first time.
Off the bench, Marco van Staden will make his much-anticipated return for the Vodacom Bulls, making his first appearance in the Vodacom URC alongside tighthead prop cover, Francois Klopper.
All the hard work the Vodacom Bulls have put in over their six-week pre-season period will be put to the test against a strong and determined Emirates Lions side in their own back yard.
“We have had a great six weeks of pre-season training where we have worked on areas we felt we needed to improve on from last season. This has also been a great opportunity for our new recruits to acclimatise in their new environment,” said Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White.
“A lot of hard work went into the past few weeks, and we are pleased with where we are ahead of the start of the season. We now have a tough encounter against a strong Emirates Lions team that will want to begin their season campaign on a positive note. Even though we expect a slow start, given that it is the first game of the season, we are looking forward to the lads giving their all to set the tone for the rest of the season.”
The Vodacom Bulls team to face the Emirates Lions on Saturday is:
STARTERS (15-1): Wandisile Simelane (Betway Centurion), Cornal Hendricks (Northam Rhinos), Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria), David Kriel (Tuine), S’bu Nkosi (Harlequin), Chris Smith (Harlequins), Embrose Papier (UP Tuks); Mihlali Mosi (Pretoria), Ruan Vermaak (Harlequins), Marcell Coetzee (CAPT, ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Walt Steenkamp (Betway Centurion), Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion), Johan Grobbelaar (UP Tuks), Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).
IMPACT (16-23): Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Pretoria), Dylan Smith (Tuine), Francois Klopper (UP Tuks), Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), Marco van Staden (ABE Midas Naka Bulle); Zak Burger (Tuine), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Stedman Gans (Northam Rhinos).
Photo credit: Johan Rynners/Vodacom Bulls
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
JOHANNESBURG: Cricket South Africa (CSA) announces that South Africa Men’s Head Coach Mr Mark Boucher is to leave his role after the conclusion of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.
Mr Boucher has decided to resign in order to pursue other opportunities in line with his future career and personal objectives. While Cricket SA greatly regrets that Mr Boucher is unable to see out the term of his contract, it respects his decision and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours.
Mr Boucher has held the position since December 2019, and led the Proteas to 11 Test wins, including a memorable 2-1 series win against India at home in January this year. The Proteas are also currently number two on the ICC World Test Championship table. In the limited-overs arena, Mr Boucher has helped South Africa claim 12 One-Day Internationals wins, and 23 T20 International victories, the most recent being a historic 2-1 series triumph against England.
His last series at the helm will be a white-ball tour of India from 28 September – 11 October before heading to the T20 World Cup in Australia, where South Africa are grouped alongside Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The tournament will run from 16 October – 13 November.
CSA Chief Executive Officer Pholetsi Moseki commented: “We would like to thank Mark for the time and effort he has invested in South African cricket as the Head Coach over the past three years. He has helped navigate us through some rough waters following the departures of so many senior players through retirement and has helped lay some strong foundations for the next generation of Proteas.
We are extremely grateful to him for the work he has done and would like to wish him well with the next chapter of his career.”
Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe added: “We are deeply saddened by Mark’s decision to leave us but we also understand and respect his wishes. He is a Proteas legend and has done so much for the game in our country, both on the field and over the last three years off it, which we highly appreciate.
“He has built a sound platform for South Africa to flourish in all three formats and I’m sure we will see the results of that at the T20 World Cup next month. He has a settled squad already, one that is growing in confidence, and we look forward to watching them in their important series in India before they head to Australia.”
Cricket SA will in due course announce its intentions regarding a successor to Mr Boucher.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) National Selection Committee has today named the squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia. The 15-player squad and three travelling reserves will also make the trip to India ahead of the tournament for the three-match T20I series later this month.
White-ball captain Temba Bavuma will make his return to the national fold after demonstrating a full recovery from a left elbow injury suffered in the T20I series against India in June.
Rassie van der Dussen has been ruled out of the tournament due to a fracture of his left index finger that he sustained during the second Test against England in Manchester. He will require surgery and is expected to take up to at least six weeks to recover.
All 15 players are capped, with 22-year-old Tristan Stubbs receiving his maiden World Cup call up following an impressive outing in the recent T20I series against England. Other notable selections include Rilee Rossouw and Wayne Parnell, with the selectors naming three travelling reserves in Bjorn Fortuin, Marco Jasen and Andile Phehlukwayo.
All 18 players are available to play in T20I series against India from 28 September – 04 October, while a 15-strong player squad has been named for the proceeding three-match 50-over series.
The squad departs for India on 23 September.
South Africa squad - ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022 and T20I series against India
Temba Bavuma (captain, DP World Lions), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Reeza Hendricks (DP World Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Gbets Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Dwaine Pretorius (North West Dragons), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Rilee Rossouw (ITEC Knights), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Tristan Stubbs (Gbets Warriors).
Bjorn Fortuin (DP World Lions), Marco Jansen (Gbets Warriors) and Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins).
South Africa ODI squad against India
Temba Bavuma (captain, DP World Lions), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Reeza Hendricks (DP World Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Janneman Malan (Gbets Rocks), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Gbets Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Dwaine Pretorius (North West Dragons), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans).
CSA Convenor of Selectors Victor Mpitsang said: “This has been a really tough squad to select, simply because we had so many players in excellent form over the past few months and performing at a level that made the selectors sit up and notice them.
“Someone like Tristan Stubbs who was not in the frame a year ago has done incredibly well to force his way into the mix based on his performances and his selection should be an inspiration for every young player out there. We are also delighted to welcome back our captain Temba Bavuma from injury and we have no doubt his return will further galvanise the team.
“This group of players showed off their brilliant skill and talent when they overcame England in England recently. These sort of performances only bode well for us heading to the World Cup. Overall we are delighted with mix of players that have been chosen and look forward to watching them represent the country in Australia.”
Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe added: “I would like to congratulate all the players who have made the final cut for the World Cup; every single one of them deserve their place on the plane to Australia. The squad covers all bases and provides us with multiple options in every area whether it batting or bowling. I am confident this group will make South Africans proud when they begin their campaign next month.
“Before that we have an important tour to India beginning in the coming weeks and this will provide some valuable game time for Head Coach Mark Boucher and his team to finalise their preparations for the tournament.”
Mark Boucher (Head Coach), Khomotso Volvo Masubelele (Team Manager), Charl Langeveldt (Bowling Coach), Justin Ontong (Fielding Coach), Justin Sammons (Batting Coach), Rivash Gobind (Performance Analyst), Craig Govender (Physiotherapist), Tumi Masekela (Strength and Conditioning Coach), Dr Hashendra Ramjee (Team Doctor), Lucy Davey (Media Manager), Kyle Botha (Masseur), Zunaid Wadee (Security).
South Africa Group Stage Itinerary - ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022
Monday, 24 October – 19:00 (10:00 SAST)
South Africa vs Qualifier B1 - Bellerive Oval, Hobart
Thursday, 27 October – 14:00 (05:00 SAST)
South Africa vs Bangladesh – SCG, Sydney
Sunday, 30 October – 19:00 (13:00 SAST)
India vs South Africa – Perth Stadium, Perth
Thursday, 03 November – 19:00 (10:00 SAST)
Pakistan vs South Africa – SCG, Sydney
Sunday, 06 November – 10:30 (02:00 SAST)
South Africa vs Qualifier A2 – Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Wednesday, 9 November – 19:00 (10:00 SAST)
TBD vs TBD – SCG, Sydney
Thursday, 10 November – 18:30 (10:00 SAST)
TBD vs TBD Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Sunday, 13 November – 19:00 (10:00 SAST)
TBD vs TBD – MCG, Melbourne
South Africa Tour to India Itinerary
Wednesday, 28 September
India vs South Africa – Thiruvananthapuram
Sunday, 2 October
India vs South Africa – Guwahati
Tuesday, 4 October
India vs South Africa – Indore
Thursday, 6 October
India vs South Africa – Ranchi
Sunday, 9 October
India vs South Africa – Lucknow
Tuesday, 11 October
India vs South Africa – Delhi
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
The Vodacom Bulls have acquired the services of loose-forward, Marco van Staden, who will make a much-anticipated return to Loftus Versfeld.
The spectacular openside flanker is the latest player to join the Vodacom Bulls ahead of the 2022/23 season, signing a two-year contract that will see the 27-year-old remain at Loftus Versfeld until the end of June 2024.
“Eskom”, as he is affectionately known (for putting a few lights out over his career), spent his junior years at the Vodacom Bulls before graduating to the senior team in 2017. In 2021 he signed with English Premiership side, Leicester Tigers.
Van Staden’s sensational performances, intense work rate and physicality on the field saw him earn a national call-up to the Springboks and subsequently earned no less than nine international appearances in the green and gold jersey.
Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, said: “We are ecstatic to welcome Marco back to Loftus Versfeld. We were gutted to see him go a year ago, but we are pleased to have been able to lure him back ahead of the upcoming season.
“Marco is a phenomenal player who has proven himself over the years. We know what he can bring to the team on and off the field. We are looking forward to him contributing to our cause in a busy 2022/23 season where his experience and talent will prove invaluable.”
Van Staden joins the Vodacom Bulls on the back of recent signings that include S’bu Nkosi, Mihlali Mosi, Phumzile Maqondwana, Wandisile Simelane and Chris Smit.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
Talented young utility back Canan Moodie will make his Springbok debut against Australia in Sydney in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship on Saturday as injuries and the desire to try a few new player combinations saw head coach Jacques Nienaber include eight new players in the starting team.
Handre Pollard, Lukhanyo Am and Pieter-Steph du Toit were all ruled out due to knee injuries, while Elton Jantjies injured his hand and was not available for selection this weekend, which means Damian Willemse will move from fullback to flyhalf, Jesse Kriel will slot in at centre, and Franco Mostert has been included in the loose trio.
The 19-year-old Moodie earns his first start on the right wing in a positional switch with Warrick Gelant, who has been named among the replacements, while the experienced Willie le Roux will take Willemse’s place at fullback, with the other change in the backline at scrumhalf, where Jaden Hendrikse takes over from Faf de Klerk.
Apart from Mostert’s inclusion among the forwards, prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Malcolm Marx earn starts in a new-look front row with Frans Malherbe, while Jasper Wiese takes over at No 8 from Duane Vermeulen, who will provide an impact off the replacements bench.
These changes see a reshuffle of the front row on the bench, with Deon Fourie serving as the replacement hooker, and Ox Nche and Trevor Nyakane providing cover at prop.
Among the backs, Cobus Reinach will serve as back-up for Hendrikse at scrumhalf, with Frans Steyn providing cover flyhalf and centre, while Gelant will offer options on the wing and fullback.
“We selected a team we thought would be best for this match given that we have several players out with injuries and with an eye on how we want to play,” said Nienaber.
“Handre, Lukhanyo, Elton and Pieter-Steph are all carrying injuries which adds to a list that includes Cheslin Kolbe and Sbu Nkosi, while Kurt-Lee Arendse is also out serving a suspension, and this has forced our hand to make a few changes in some positions.
“With both flyhalves injured, Damian was the natural choice at No 10 where he has slotted in for us a lot. He is also becoming a settled player in our team with over 20 Test caps to his name.
“This will also be a great test for Canan, who was a stand-out player for the Vodacom Bulls this season in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship. He’s a very talented player, who will enjoy this opportunity.”
Nienaber added: “Cobus at his best is world class and having seen what he offers us at training we think he’s close to that form. With him, Warrick and Frans Steyn on the bench we have sufficient cover among the backs.”
Commenting on the changes among the forwards Nienaber said: “With Bongi (Mbonambi) and Trevor injured in the last few weeks we were in a position where we could test other combinations and we got some good answers in that regard.
“This weekend we opted to make a few switches with Ox and Trevor playing off the bench along with Deon Fourie. With Bongi and Malcolm both settled with over 50 Test caps each, it was always our plan to give Joseph (Dweba) and Deon a chance at hooker, and this week Deon gets a run.”
Zoning in on the match itself, Nienaber said: “We had a thorough review of our performance against Australia last week, and the most disappointing aspect is that were dominant in several areas of the game, but we struggled to show that on the scoreboard.
“This week is a final for us to stay in the competition and we are expecting Australia to be just as desperate, but so are we.
“We let ourselves down in the last two games and we are determined to rectify that this week and change our fortunes in Australia. We’ll prepare as well as possible this week to stay in the hunt for the title,” he added.
Springbok team to face Australia in Sydney:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 76 caps, 65 pts (13t)
14 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – uncapped
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 53 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 63 caps, 35 pts (7t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 30 caps, 105 pts (21t)
10 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 21 caps, 12 pts (1t, 2c, 1p)
9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) – 7 caps, 5 pts (1t)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 15 caps, 0 pts
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 56 caps, 5pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 68 caps, 35 pts (7t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Wild Knights) – 61 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 103 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 51 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 52 caps, 55 pts (11t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 64 caps, 5 pts (1t)
16 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) – 1 cap, 0pts
17 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 12 caps, 0pts
18 – Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92) – 57 caps, 5pts (1t)
19 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 24 caps, 15 pts (3t)
20 – Duane Vermeulen (Ulster) – 63 caps, 15 pts (3t)
21 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 21 caps, 40pts (8t)
22 – Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 75 caps, 150 pts (11t, 7c, 24p, 3d)
23 – Warrick Gelant (Racing 92) – 11 caps, 15 pts (3t)
Springbok record against the Wallabies in Australia:
Played 42; Won 12; Lost 28; Drawn 2; Points for: 702, Points against: 925; Tries scored 82, Tries conceded 94; Highest score 38-12 in Brisbane (2013); Biggest win 26 points in Brisbane (2013). Win % 28,6%.
1. Malcolm Marx is the top try scorer in the squad against Australia with three tries in seven Test matches.
2. Siya Kolisi has played 38 Tests as captain, making him the second most capped Springbok captain behind John Smit, who led the team in 83 Tests.
1. The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 727.
2. There are 257 caps in the backline with 470 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 264 caps.
3. The average caps per player in the backline are 36, the forwards 58, while the players on the bench average 33.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]