South Africa’s ‘bomb-squad’ goes nuclear for Ireland as Jacques Nienaber named SEVEN forwards on his bench

The world champions trialled the tactic to great effect in their warm-up win over New Zealand and, having won their first two matches in Pool B, are ready to wreak havoc on the world’s number one side.

In 2019, they nick-named their bench ‘The Bomb-Squad’ as the replacements played a pivotal role in delivering the World Cup.

Now, they’ve gone nuclear and the Munster pair of Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman have been included among the replacements.

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Scrum-half Cobus Reinach is the only recognised back who is providing cover, although back-row Kwagga Smith could be deployed in the centre if needed.

Normally a back-row, Stormers man Deon Fourie will cover Bongi Mbonambi who starts at hooker, with Ox Nche and Trevor Nkayane ready to replace Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe if they start to flag.

Marco van Staden and Smith will provide energy as well, with the clear plan to out-muscle and out-last Andy Farrell’s side across 80 minutes.

As flagged by Rassie Erasmus, there’s no place for Handre Pollard who linked up with the Springboks yesterday, so Manie Libbok starts at out-half and partners Faf de Klerk who can cover the No 10 slot.

Damian Willemse also provides cover there from full-back, while Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse are on the wings and Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel are in midfield.

Eben Etzebeth is fit to start and he’s joined by Franco Mostert in the second-row, while Siya Kolisi skippers the team from the back-row where he’s joined by Pieter-Steph du Toit and Jasper Wiese.

“Ireland are a quality team with a strong pack of forwards and talented backs, and they play with a lot of speed, so we know what we have to do to deliver a top-drawer performance for things to go our way,” coach Jacques Nienaber said.

“We faced them late last year and we’ve been keeping an eye on their performances this year, so everyone knows what we have to do this weekend.

“We’re fortunate to have a match-fit squad and have been building depth and versatility for a while and believe this is the best combination for this match. For many of these players this is their second or third World Cup, so they know what it takes to perform at this level, and we believe this team has the right balance of players to achieve what we would like to achieve in this match.

“We know it’s going to be a grind of a match and we know we need to pitch up physically and mentally. We also need to start with intensity and stay focused until the final whistle.

“This is a massive game for both sides with an eye to progressing out of our pool, so we need to be extremely accurate in all areas of our game.”

Ireland name their team on Thursday.

SOUTH AFRICA – D Willemse; KL Arendse, J Kriel, D de Allende, C Kolbe; M Libbok, F de Klerk; S Kitshoff, B Mbonambi, F Malherbe; E Etzebeth, F Mostert; S Kolisi (capt), PS du Toit. J Wiese. Reps: D Fourie, O Nche, T Nkayane, J Kleyn, RG Snyman, M van Staden, K Smith, C Reinach.



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