De Klerk, Marx to start for Springboks against All Blacks

·2-min read

Experienced duo Faf de Klerk and Malcolm Marx have been elevated to the starting line-up by South Africa for a Rugby Championship first round clash against New Zealand in Mbombela on Saturday.

They replace scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse and hooker Bongi Mbonambi -- both now among the replacements -- in two of the three changes to the side that started a 30-14 series-clinching win over Wales last month.

The other alteration is injury enforced after star winger Cheslin Kolbe broke his jaw against the Welsh in Cape Town. Kurt-Lee Arendse takes his place.

Loose forward Elrigh Louw is replaced by lock Salmaan Moerat on the bench for the clash of nations who share the record for Rugby World Cup titles with three each.

Mbonambi has been the Springboks' starting hooker for some time with Marx coming off the bench early in the second half of matches.

Marx now starts and is set to win his 50th cap on Saturday against the All Blacks before a sell-out 40,000 crowd at Mbombels Stadium in the northeastern city.

"With Malcolm, we feel it is a big occasion to play one's 50th Test so it will be good for him to start," said South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber after announcing the matchday 23.

"We are very proud of Malcolm's achievement, and we wish him all the best for the game. He is a true warrior and epitomises what we stand for as Springboks."

Marx and Mbonambi are both masters at claiming tries from driving mauls -- a key source of scores for the reigning world champions.

De Klerk did not sparkle in the first of three Tests against Wales and Hendrikse started in the following two internationals, giving solid performances.

"We believe the experience and style of play of Faf will complement our game against the All Blacks," added Nienaber.

Amid speculation that the more experienced and taller Jesse Kriel might get the nod in place of Kolbe, Nienaber opted for the slightly built Arendse.

While South Africa edged Wales 2-1, New Zealand suffered a shock 2-1 series loss to Ireland at the same time.

Team (15-1)

Damian Willemse; Kurt-Lee Arendse, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Salmaan Moerat, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Jaden Hendrikse, Willie le Roux

Coach: Jacques Nienaber (RSA)


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