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Frans Steyn starts at 10

Frans Steyn starts at 10 in place of the concussed Damian Willemse, while PSDT is back at 7. Bongi Mbomambi makes a welcome return on the bench. Vincent Koch replaces the out of sorts Trevor Nyakane on the bench. Kurt-Lee Arendse should also add some zip later in the game.


Sharks and Boks face flyhalf crisis

With Damian Willemse out the Boks only has Frans Steyn for the 10 jersey (although Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux are bandied as options). Similarly due to injuries to Curwin Bosch and Lionel Cronje the Sharks with only Boeta Chamberlain as recognized flyhalf and place kicker have called on Fred Zeilinga to assist.

The squad looks good in the prop, hooker, no 5 lock, open side and eight man department but will miss the experience and bulk of Le Roux Roets (no 4 lock), Henco Venter (blindside flank) and Jeandre Labuschagne (blindside) in the pack.


Andre on the bench in BA

Rassie Nienaber has kept the same starting team that put away the Wallabies in Sydney, but has selected Elrigh Louw, Faf de Klerk and Andre Esterhuizen on the bench.

The Boks are marginal historical favourites in Argentina in the RC – 4 wins, 3 losses and 1 draw since 2012. However Argentina under Cheika has shown the ability to put away the All Blacks at home. In probably the most competitive Rugby Championship ever the Boks cannot afford to be even the slight bit complacent in any game.


Sharks shade the Lions in a URC warm-up

The Sharks traveled to Ellis Park just before the weekend and managed to edge the Lions by 45-43 scoring 7 tries to the hosts’ 6. Scorers for the Sharks: Penxe, Bholi, Fassi 2, Jooste 2, Abrahams.

New signings Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Vincent Tshituka did not feature in the extended squad.


Wholesale changes for Sydney

Jaques Nienaber has made 9 changes to the team including replacing Lukhanyo Am (out with a knee injury) with Jesse Kriel.

Malcolm Marx will have to get ready to play for at least 65 minutes as Deon Fourie (a very good flank but always struggled with hooker duties) is on the bench. Hookers like Johan Grobbelaar, Kerron van Vuuren and Fez Mbatha back in SA must just be shaking their heads.


Player movement at the Sharks

The Sharks have gained 7 new players for a loss of 8. Lionel Cronje will be back along with new signing Rohan Janse van Rensburg to add some direction to the Sharks back line. The Sharks however do loose 3 centres in Marius Louw, Jeremy Ward and Rynhardt Jonker.

All the best for all the players that contributed at the Sharks. Sad to see stalwarts like Ruben van Heerden and Sbu Nkosi leaving but sometimes a move to a new environment gets a player’s career back on track – just ask Madosh Tambwe.

High profile signing Eben Etzebeth is unlikely to feature for the Sharks until next year. The names of Carlu Sadie and Vincent Tshituka should definitely appear in URC team announcements though.


Nienaber sticks to his guns

After the disaster of Ellis Park Jacques Nienaber is sticking to his guns and has selected Joseph Dweba to start at hooker and Duane Vermeulen to start at number 8. We can only hope this will turn out better this time.

Faf de Klerk is back at 9, and Warrick Gelant will be able to bamboozle the Wallabies (as well as his own team) in the 14 jersey. Willie le Roux (only player apart from Damian Willemse than can actually induce some creativity in the Bok back line) has been axed along with Jasper Wiese (who at least went through a lot of work). In turn Frans Steyn and Elton Jantjies have been added to the bench.


Bok touring squad

Due to Bongi Mbonambi being out injured for 4 weeks, the Boks are only taking one hooker that is comfortable throwing into a lineout under pressure on their tour to Australia and Argentina. Additionally the third hooker is a very good flank who used to be a very poor hooker in his early career. Just madness from Jacques Nienaber – since the lineout and maul forms such a large component of the Bok game plan.

I believe Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn have both been some of the greatest Boks of all times, but it is really time to let them retire in peace. Honestly it would serve the Boks better to have players like Evan Roos and Aphelele Fassi being part of the Bok squad.


Ox back for the Boks

Jacques Nienaber has made five changes to the starting team from last week. Jessie Kriel replaces the injured and banned Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jaden Hendrikse starts and Herschel Jantjies for the concussed Faf de Klerk. Additionally Duane Vermeulen has demoted Jasper Wiese to the bench, Joseph Dweba starts in place of Bongi Mbonambi (out with a injury sustained in training), Malcolm Marx moves back to the bench and Ox Nche starts at loosehead for Trevor Nyakane who drops out of the squad.