Cape Town – Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says the decision not to risk Eben Etzebeth for Saturday’s clash against France in Paris was based on the fact that there are still two matches to go on the tour.
Etzebeth injured his foot in last weekend’s 12-11 loss to England at Twickenham and while it initially looked like he would be ruled out for weeks, the news on Monday was that he was in line to play against France.
That, as it turns out, is not the case and Pieter-Steph du Toit will now wear the No 4 jersey while Franco Mostert returns at No 5.
“We believe it would be better not to rush Eben back as we still have two Tests left on the tour (Scotland and Wales) after the match against France,” said Erasmus.
“Franco has started in eight of our 11 Tests this year and he starts with Pieter-Steph du Toit, who is obviously also a good option to move to loose forward later in the match.”
The Bok mentor described France as a dangerous side, saying they would provide the Springboks with formidable opposition on Saturday.
“The French are very physical and skilful, and we will have to be good on defence and also be disciplined,” said Erasmus.
“The conditions here in the northern hemisphere demand a different approach and while we created a lot of opportunities last week we have to better with our execution.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 22:05 (SA time).
15 Maxime Medard, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Damian Penaud, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Arthur Iturria, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Gael Fickou
15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe