Rassie Erasmus and his Springboks’ serious need for a result against France in Paris on Saturday was reflected by his team selection for the Test.
There was much trumpeting of the fact that the national coach had recalled all six of his overseas-based players back into the squad and he consequently wasted little time in picking all of them in the match-23.
While there are only three changes to the starting line-up – all of them expected with Franco Mostert, Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux at lock, scrumhalf and fullback respectively – it’s the bench that changes quite dramatically.
The dynamism of Vincent Koch will be valued in the second half, while veteran Francois Louw adds calmness and ball-poaching ability.
Pocket rocket Cheslin Kolbe, who only this week signed a contract extension with his French club Toulouse, will relish showing off his experience in these conditions.
Erasmus was keen to state that his rookies, particularly Ivan van Zyl and Damian Willemse, didn’t perform badly at Twickenham last week, but also made his need for wisdom clear.
“It’s good to have the experienced players back in the starting team for France,” said the Bok coach.
“I thought Damian and Ivan did very well last week, but you need as much experience as possible playing away from home. We are building squad depth for the Rugby World Cup and they will be back in the mix as the tour progresses.
Springboks: Willie le Roux, S’bu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff. Bench: Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Embrose Papier, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe.