Heinz Schenk
1 minute read
27 Sep 2018
1:39 pm

Springboks pick a backline oozing the X-factor

Heinz Schenk

Pocket rocket Cheslin Kolbe will make his starting debut as Rassie Erasmus surprises with a No 8 who's surprisingly similar to the injured Warren Whiteley.

Cheslin Kolbe of South Africa breaks away for a try during The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the South Africa Springboks at Westpac Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Springboks will tackle the Wallabies on Saturday with a backline that arguably has the biggest assortment of X-factor players in some time.

Notably, the diminutive Cheslin Kolbe makes his run-on debut at right wing and partners with Willie le Roux and Aphiwe Dyantyi in a back three that oozes attacking brilliance.

“Cheslin has been very impressive since he joined the squad a few weeks ago and now he gets a deserved opportunity to start in a big Test,” said coach Rassie Erasmus.

It’s a tantalising prospect as Kolbe had shown during the victory against the All Blacks that his defence is more than adequate at this level despite his size.

South Africa will hope he’s given more ball to showcase his twinkle toes.

Erasmus has kept his pack changes to a minimum but has handed Stormers No 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe an unexpected starting debut.

He replaces Warren Whiteley, who sustained a groin injury during the week, but it shouldn’t disrupt the balance of the loose trio.

Notshe, who played for the Blitzboks this season, is a mobile, skilful player very much in the mould of the Lions skipper.

Hard-as-nails Bulls poacher Marco van Staden will play off the bench.

Springboks: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (c), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Beast Mtawarira. Bench: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Embrose Papier, Elton Jantjies, Damian Willemse.

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