Cape Town - Jesse Kriel is excited about the prospect of turning out on the wing for the Springboks against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.
Kriel will start on the right wing, having played outside centre in last Saturday’s 23-18 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane.
The 24-year-old has played on the wing only twice in his 33 Tests but is confident that he won’t feel out of place on Saturday.
“I’m really excited. I’ve played there before, obviously not as much as centre, but I’m really excited about the opportunity. It’s always special to play for the Springboks. But it’s a big challenge here in New Zealand,” Kriel told reporters in Wellington on Thursday.
Kriel will be up against the dangerous Rieko Ioane, who has scored 16 tries in 17 Tests for New Zealand.
Kriel said he was relishing playing against Ioane: “Obviously he’s a world class player. But all of us want to be up against the best every weekend and I think that’s what Test rugby is about. In Super Rugby he’s played a bit of centre as well, so he’s got the complete skill set and he’s dangerous with ball in hand. He’s a strike runner, really good with ball in hand... just a really good player.”
Kriel added that the Boks will be looking to make amends for the errors they made in recent defeats to Australia and Argentina.
“We want to go out there and convert the opportunities that we didn’t convert in the last two games. If we had taken three chances in each game, the results could have looked a lot different.”
Saturday’s Test is scheduled for 09:35 (SA time).
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu'inukuafe
Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Jack Goodhue, 23 Damian McKenzie
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Beast Mtawarira, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe