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Mbonambi in line for Bok debut

PUBLISHED: June 23, 2016


DHL Stormers hooker Bongi Mbonambi is in line to make his Springbok debut should he come off the replacements bench against Ireland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

DHL Stormers hooker Bongi Mbonambi is in line to make his Springbok debut should he come off the replacements bench against Ireland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The all-action hooker has been on the replacements bench for the first two Tests against, but has not yet taken the field with captain Adriaan Struass playing the full 80 minutes in both games.

In the only changes to the starting XV Warren Whiteley and Ruan Combrinck will make their first starts for the Springboks in the deciding third Test.

Whiteley replaces the experienced Duane Vermeulen, who is out with an elbow injury, while Combrinck, man of the match in last week’s win over the Irish in Johannesburg, gets the starting nod over Lwazi Mvovo, who is now on the bench.

An ankle injury has ruled out prop Trevor Nyakane, and his place amongst the reserves is filled by the uncapped Steven Kitshoff. He is joined on the bench by another uncapped player, Jaco Kriel, who comes into the match day squad for the first time during the series.

Strauss will lead the Boks for the third time on Saturday, with the hooker looking to lead the South Africans to a series win over Ireland. The series is currently tied 1-1 after Ireland’s opening win in Cape Town and the Springboks’ victory last week on the Highveld.

The Springboks have been hard at work this week to prepare themselves for what promises to be another intriguing battle between the two sides. Coetzee said the Boks are looking forward to playing the Irish in PE.

“It will be another huge battle between the sides on Saturday,” said Coetzee.

“Both sides have suffered injuries before and during the series, but that it is part of the game and it again provides opportunities for others to come in and stake their claim.

“Jaco has been close to selection every time and he now gets his chance in the match day squad. Steven has worked extremely hard since we got together as a team and he also has an opportunity to show his promise should he take to the field.

“We know what is at stake on Saturday – it’s a matter of winner takes all scenario. This group of players will continue to grow together as a team and Saturday they have the opportunity to gain more experience by playing together.”

Springboks: 15 Willie le Roux (Cell C Sharks), 14 Ruan Combrinck (Emirates Lions), 13 Lionel Mapoe (Emirates Lions), 12 Damian De Allende (DHL Stormers), 11 JP Pietersen (Cell C Sharks), 10 Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), 9 Faf de Klerk (Emirates Lions), 8 Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions), 7 Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), 6 Francois Louw (Bath), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 4 Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), 3 Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain, Vodacom Bulls), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks).
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 17 Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux), 18 Julian Redelinghuys (Emirates Lions), 19 Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions), 20 Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions), 21 Rudy Paige (Vodacom Bulls), 22 Morne Steyn (Stade Francais), 23 Lwazi Mvovo (Cell C Sharks).