Springboks

Rassie tweaks Springbok pack for battle of Bloem

2018-06-14 13:01
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira will make his 100th Test appearance for South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday in the second Test against England, becoming only the sixth Springbok to reach this special milestone.

Kick-off at the Toyota Stadium is at 17:05.

The 32-year-old Mtawarira is the first Springbok prop to reach a century of Test caps and he joins an elite group of only seven props who have made 100 or more Test appearances.

Mtawarira will anchor the Springbok scrum in his milestone Test alongside hooker Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe, who makes a return to the front row after a lengthy absence due to injury.

Malherbe’s inclusion is one of only two changes in the starting team that beat England 42-39 last weekend in Johannesburg. He replaces his Stormers team mate Wilco Louw. The other change sees Pieter-Steph du Toit returning to the starting fifteen in the No 7 jersey, with Jean-Luc du Preez moving to the bench.

Mtawarira made his Springbok debut exactly 10 years against Wales, on June 14, 2008 in Pretoria at the age of 22. The following year he was an instrumental figure in the Springbok tight five as he helped to steer the South Africans to a memorable 2-1 series win over the British & Irish Lions.

Since then, the soft-spoken front rower has established himself as a mainstay for the Sharks - he has 146 Super Rugby caps to his name - and the Springboks. Apart from his 99 Tests, Mtawarira has also played in three tour matches for the Springboks to date, with two Test tries to his name.

Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, paid tribute to Mtawarira, whom he described as a great servant to Springbok rugby and a very good professional.

“Much like a typical front rower, ‘Beast’ is not someone who likes the spotlight,” said Erasmus.

“However, his contribution to Springbok rugby during the past decade has been enormous and I want to congratulate him on reaching 100 Test caps for South Africa.

“It is a special achievement and while he deserves the accolades, I know he will be totally focussed on the most important job, and that is to face an extremely determined England side on Saturday in Bloem.”

Erasmus added that an improved performance will be needed from the Springboks when the two sides meet again at the Toyota Stadium.

“England is a powerful side and I know Eddie Jones will have his team super prepared for Saturday,” said Erasmus.

“They will no doubt want to bounce back to level the series, so it’s going to be another huge Test of our resolve and character.”

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Warrick Gelant

England

15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Denny Solomona

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