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Etzebeth ruled out as Willie le Roux, Faf de Klerk return for Springboks against France

Independent Online (IOL) logo Independent Online (IOL) 2018-11-08 Ashfak Mohamed
a football player on a field: Willie le Roux has been reinstated at fullback for the Springboks in Saturday's clash against France in Paris. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix © Provided by Independent Media Willie le Roux has been reinstated at fullback for the Springboks in Saturday's clash against France in Paris. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

The Springboks have lost Eben Etzebeth for Saturday’s showdown against France in Paris, but have been bolstered by six European-based players.

Etzebeth has not recovered sufficiently from the foot injury that saw him leave the field during the 12-11 defeat to England at Twickenham last week.

He has effectively been replaced by Franco Mostert, who will wear the No 5 jersey, with Pieter-Steph du Toit shifting to No 4.

Bok coach Rassie Erasmus was not tempted to tweak his loose trio, so captain Siya Kolisi will again partner up with Duane Vermeulen and Warren Whiteley.

But Erasmus will be delighted to have the experience of Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux back in the mix.

Ivan van Zyl played to instructions of persisting with a kicking game strategy against England, but De Klerk has the licence to try a few more things, especially on attack.

The same scenario plays out at fullback, where Damian Willemse was not allowed to have a full go from deep.

Le Roux, though, will look to join the line and spark the counter-attacks, as the Boks will be keen to show that they can score more tries after registering just one last week, despite dominating territory and possession.

Three more Euro Boks are on the bench, with Vincent Koch the back-up tighthead prop, Francois Louw the loose-forward cover, and Cheslin Kolbe the reserve outside back.

“It’s good to have the experienced players back in the starting team for France,” said Erasmus.

“I thought Damian and Ivan did very well last week against England 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.

“We believe it would be better not to rush Eben back as we still have two Tests left on the tour after the match against France. 

“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.”

Kickoff at the Stade de France will be at 10.05pm SA time.

Springbok Team

15 Willie le Roux 14 Sbu Nkosi 13 Jesse Kriel 12 Damian de Allende 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi 10 Handré 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.

Bench: 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.

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