Springboks v All Blacks Tests: Arendse to wear Kolbe’s No 14 jersey?
The Boks are set to face the All Blacks in back-to-back Tests in Mbombela and Joburg on 6 and 13 August respectively.
Will the Boks management gamble with rookie Kurt-Lee Arendse against the All Blacks? Picture: Charle Lombard/Gallo Images
The big question now is, who will step into the Springbok No 14 jersey for the Tests against the All Blacks next month?
This, after confirmation at the weekend that regular right wing and World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe has been ruled out of action until September. Kolbe broke his jaw in the third Test against Wales just over a week ago.
In the past, including at the World Cup in Japan in 2019 when Kolbe was also sidelined at a stage, Sbu Nkosi was the back-up, but the new Bulls man isn’t in the current squad because of injury. This means the Boks need to find a new right wing.
Also out of the discussion is Sharks star Aphelele Fassi, who has played on the wing on a number of occasions in the recent past, after he was released from the Rugby Championship squad. Bulls flank Marcell Coetzee has also been released to his provincial team.
The good news is Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has a number of options to take over from Kolbe.
Bulls rookie Kurt-Lee Arendse, who performed well in the second Test against Wales in Bloemfontein, looks to be the front-runner, but Nienaber can also consider a few other players in his 41-man squad.
Jesse Kriel has played on the wing before, while Willie le Roux, who started his career on the wing, is also an option. That is if Nienaber and his coaching team opt to continue with Damian Willemse at fullback.
Warrick Gelant, like Le Roux a player who’s settled at fullback, could also be an option.
Frans Steyn, who along with Duane Vermeulen, is back in the Bok squad after a lengthy injury layoff, could also fill in in an emergency, but the veteran star possibly doesn’t have the pace anymore to play on the wing.
The other significant news in Nienaber’s squad is that scrumhalf Cobus Reinach needs medical clearance from his French club, Montpellier, before he can join the Boks, following a period on the sidelines because of injury.
The Boks will train in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, this week, before moving to Mbombela on Friday to continue their build-up to the first Test against the All Blacks on 6 August.
Props: Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane
Hookers: Joseph Dweba, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi
Locks: Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Salmaan Moerat, Ruan Nortje, Marvin Orie
Loose forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Elrigh Louw, Evan Roos, Kwagga Smith, Jasper Wiese, Duane Vermeulen
Utility forwards: Rynhardt Elstadt, Deon Fourie, Franco Mostert
Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Herschel Jantjies, Grant Williams
Flyhalves: Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard
Midfielders: Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel
Outside Backs: Warrick Gelant, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi,
Utility Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Frans Steyn, Damian Willemse
Rugby Championship fixtures (SA times):
17h05: Saturday, 6 August – Springboks v New Zealand (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)
17h05: Saturday, 13 August – Springboks v New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)
07h30: Saturday, 27 August – Australia v Springboks (Adelaide Oval, Adelaide)
11h35: Saturday, 3 September – Australia v Springboks (Allianz Stadium, Sydney)
21h10: Saturday, 17 September – Argentina v Springboks (Estadio José Amalfitani in Buenos Aires)
17h05: Saturday, 24 September – Springboks v Argentina (Kings Park, Durban)