I asked for 10 changes to be made to the Springboks starting line-up that bumbled its way to defeat in Adelaide. Rassie Erasmus delivered eight changes for the Sydney showdown against the Wallabies and delightfully included Damian Willemse at No 10, writes Mark Keohane.
Thank you Rassie Erasmus for listening. Either that or on this occasion we shared a similar thought process when it came to a Bok shake-up in Australia.
The Boks have won just four matches in 30 in Australia against the Wallabies and the worst that can happen on Saturday is that it is four in 31.
The best that could happen is we see some rejuvenation in the starting Boks, especially in a pack that shows four changes to that which made little impression in Adelaide.
I asked for veteran Deon Fourie to be utilised as a hooker/loose-forward, insisted on Kwagga Smith being used to create chaos in the last 30, for Jasper Wiese to be back at No 8 and most pertinently, among the backs, to pick Willemse and Jaden Hendrikse as the halfbacks, give the talented 19 year-old Canan Moodie this first start on the wing and to reintroduce the experience of Willie le Roux at the back.
My wish list included a return to the fray for Franco Mostert at lock, but they started him at flank.
Elrigh Louw, the brilliant young Bulls loose-forward was the only one on my wish list that wasn’t included – and he was the only one I thought would definitely be in the match 23.
Louw has now spent seven Tests with the Boks and has had 50-odd minutes.
His exclusion aside, I am happy as that Australian boxer Larry that my recommendations of change have found such favour with SA Rugby’s National Director of Rugby.
Now we begin the countdown to when Rassie can finally assume control of the Boks on match-day.
In his absence, the Boks have won just four from 11. There are still three Tests to go before Erasmus is allowed back into the stadium on Springboks Test match day, which means he won’t be back before the November end-of-year Tests that include power showdowns with Ireland, France and England.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) August 29, 2022
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) August 30, 2022