Spingbok coach Allister Coetzee is hoping that reuniting Damian de Allende and Juan de Jongh in midfield will prove to be the spark that ignites the Boks when they face the All Blacks in Durban on Saturday.
The Bok coach named a side with two forced changes yesterday for the last match of this season’s Rugby Championship.
With Rudy Paige having suffered a concussion in the Boks’ victory over Australia at Loftus last week‚ the coach was set to bring in a new scrumhalf for the Kings Park clash.
Spoilt for choice at having to pick between Francois Hougaard‚ who finished last week’s match at scrumhalf‚ new call-up Piet van Zyl and livewire Faf de Klerk‚ Coetzee opted to start with the De Klerk in the No 9 jersey.
De Klerk was the starting scrumhalf from the June tests against Ireland right till the Boks’ defeat by the Kiwis in Christchurch last month.
This was before Paige was awarded an opportunity to prove himself – which he did – until injury hit against the Wallabies last Saturday.
“Faf is a great player and will have learnt lessons from the past [playing in the green and gold]. He will be a better player this weekend.”
The second change‚ and possibly the one that will be placed under the microscope ‚ is that of De Allende.
He takes the place of Jesse Kriel‚ who failed to recover from a groin injury.
His inclusion has forced a positional switch which will see him in the No 12 jersey‚ with De Jongh switching from inside to outside centre.
The pair, who have played in the same roles under Coetzee, flourished at the Stormers in Super Rugby.
The coach will undoubtedly be hoping the duo can produce the magic that saw De Allende being regarded as arguably the best inside centre in the world just last year‚ before a dip in form this season.
“De Jongh has been the livewire when it comes to our defensive organisation. His communication there is really giving us a lot of confidence. With that combination, I’m looking forward to a good contest.”
Coetzee has stuck to a 6-2 split on the bench‚ in favour of the forwards, with only two players covering the backline.
He has shown confidence in his forwards pack by keeping the same players in the side.
Bok team: Pat Lambie‚ Francois Hougaard‚ Juan de Jongh‚ Damian de Allende‚ Bryan Habana‚ Morne Steyn‚ Faf de Klerk‚ Warren Whiteley‚ Oupa Mohoje‚ Francois Louw‚ Pieyer -Steph du Toit‚ Eben Etzebeth‚ Vincent Koch‚ Adriaan Strauss‚ Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi‚ Steven Kitshoff‚ Julian Redelinghuys‚ Lood de Jager‚Willem Alberts‚ Jaco Kriel‚ Lionel Mapoe‚Willie le Roux.