Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Springbok boss excited to see ‘Gelant, Willemse chemistry’ in Wallabies Test

"We would have loved to give him an opportunity at 15, but with the bad luck we have had at right wing this season, you just can’t plan for that many injuries and disruptions in one position."

Springbok utility back Warrick Gelant is to become the fourth player to start in the number 14 jersey so far this international season when he lines up for the Boks against Australia in their Rugby Championship clash in Adelaide on Saturday.

The right wing berth has become a bit of a curse of late for the Boks, with injuries and a suspension forcing coach Jacques Nienaber to bring in his fourth change in the position in just their sixth Test of the season.

After Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse started at right wing earlier in the season, Kolbe suffered a broken jaw in the third Test against Wales, ruling him out until late September at the earliest, while Arendse picked up a red card and four game suspension in the first Test against the All Blacks.

This led to Jesse Kriel putting on the 14 jersey for the second All Blacks Test, only for him to be concussed early in the match, leading to Gelant now getting a shot, which he will look to take with both hands and hope that nothing adverse happens to him in the coming match.

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Nienaber believes that it is a great opportunity for Gelant to now prove his worth to the Bok management, while he expects him to link up well with his fellow Stormers team-mate Damian Willemse.

“It’s a nice opportunity for Warrick, he’s been part of us for quite some time. He has played on the wing for us before, in the World Cup against Canada. So he knows our system as a 15 and as a 14,” said Nienaber.

“Obviously we would have loved to give him an opportunity at 15, but with the bad luck we have had at right wing this season, you just can’t plan for that many injuries and disruptions in one position. So he gets his opportunity there now because of where we are with the position.

“We are excited to have him there again. He had a good URC, him and Gazza (Willemse) know each other well.

“Gazza has really excelled this year at 15 for us, he has really taken his opportunity and is trying to make that position his own. So we are looking forward to the chemistry between Gazza and Warrick, they have been playing together for a while.”

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The only other change to the starting 15 from the previous All Blacks Test sees Faf de Klerk return to the side having recovered from the concussion he suffered in the first All Blacks Test, as Jaden Hendrikse drops to the bench.

Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba and Duane Vermeulen have all been backed by the Bok coaching staff, despite them struggling against the All Blacks in the second Test at Ellis Park, which saw all three players subbed in the first half and they will get a shot at redemption against the Aussies.

On the bench the Boks have opted to go with a five-three split for the first time this season, which sees Elton Jantjies come in, along with Frans Steyn, with Willie le Roux and Jasper Wiese the two players that drop out of the match 23.

Springbok team

Damian Willemse, Warrick Gelant, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Joseph Dweba, Ox Nche. Bench: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Jaden Hendrikse, Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn

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