Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made expected sweeping changes to his side to face Romania, but an undisclosed injury to star hooker Malcolm Marx is the major concern for the team.
When four scrumhalves were named in the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup 2023 squad six weeks ago, it led to furrowed brows and widespread head-scratching.
The reasoning behind coach Jacques Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ decision became less opaque when all four were named in the side to take on Romania in the Boks’ second-round Pool B clash in Bordeaux on Sunday.
The lightning-quick Grant Williams will start on the wing and Cobus Reinach will wear the No 9 jersey. Jaden Hendrikse and Faf de Klerk are on the bench in a five/three split between forwards and backs.
That means De Klerk is the flyhalf cover with Manie Libbok rested and Damian Willemse starting at 10. Hendrikse will cover scrumhalf while starting fullback Willie le Roux, who spent his formative pro years as a flyhalf, could also slot in at out-half if needed.
“People were surprised when we picked four scrumhalves in the squad but we knew they offered us the skills and versatility to provide backline options to manage the challenges that tournament rugby gives you,” Nienaber said.
“They are all excellent scrumhalves, but Grant and Cobus can play wing and Faf has experience at No 10 –…