Richard Ferguson

Fresh backline for France

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :France Series 2017, Original Content, Springboks on 8 Jun 2017 at 14:06
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Springbok team to face France in Pretoria this weekend has been announced, with four debutants in the starting team.

All four debutants are in the backline as Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Raymond Rhule and Courtnall Skosan earn their first Test caps. Coetzee, Rhule and Skosan make for an exciting back three that should be fantastic on attack, but questions could be asked about their defensive capabilities.

Elton Jantjies is outside Cronje to make his first match a little easier, with Bulls duo Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel combining in midfield.

Captain Whiteley is joined by Oupa Mohoje and Siya Kolisi in the back row of the pack. Surprisingly, Pieter-Steph du Toit is not accompanying Eben Etzebeth in the second row, Franco Mostert rather getting the nod. Beast Mtawarira, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe complete an entirely local starting fifteen.

There is a fifth debutant waiting on the bench in Dillyn Leyds. Francois Hougaard and Frans Steyn are the other backline reserves, sure to bring some impact off the bench. Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff and Coenie Oosthuizen is sure to feature in the second half, while Jean-Luc du Preez is set to add to his single cap off the bench.

The Springbok team to face France in Pretoria:
15. Andries Coetzee (Emirates Lions), 0 caps, 0 points
14. Raymond Rhule (Toyota Cheetahs), 0, 0
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), 17, 15 (3t)
12. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Bulls), 26, 10 (2t)
11. Courtnall Skosan (Emirates Lions), 0, 0
10. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), 11, 78 (12c, 18p)
9. Ross Cronje (Emirates Lions), 0, 0
8. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions, captain), 15, 15 (3t)
7. Oupa Mohoje (Toyota Cheetahs), 15, 0
6. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), 16, 0
5. Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions), 7, 0
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), 54, 10 (2t)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), 15, 0
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 2, 0
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 87, 10 (2t)

16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 5, 0
17. Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux-Bègles, France), 10, 0
18. Coenie Oosthuizen (Cell C Sharks), 23, 15 (3t)
19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 20, 15 (3t)
20. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks), 1, 0
21. Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors, England), 39, 25 (5t)
22. Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France), 53, 132 (10t, 5c, 21p, 3d)
23. Dillyn Leyds (DHL Stormers), 0, 0

Interesting facts and milestones:
·         The first Test match between South Africa and France took place in Bordeaux on 11 January, 1913. South Africa, captained by Billy Millar, won the match 38-5, scoring nine tries in the process, which, to date, is still a Springbok match record for tries against France.
·         This Test match will be the third match at Loftus Versfeld between the two countries. The previous two, in 1975 and 1980, were comfortably won by South Africa with a combined score of 70-33.
·         South Africa’s record against France at home: P: 21; W: 10; L: 6; D: 5; PF: 438; PA: 322; Win%: 48%.
·         This encounter will be the Boks’ 40th Test match against France.
·         South Africa’s overall record against France: P: 39; W: 22; L: 11; D: 6; PF: 783; PA: 578; Win%: 56%.
·         The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 265. There are 54 caps in the backline with 211 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 151 caps.
·         The average caps per player in the backline are eight, the forwards 26 while the players on the bench average 19.
·         The average age of the starting 15 is 26.
·         The tallest player in the squad is Eben Etzebeth (2.04m) and the shortest Elton Jantjies and Bongi Mbonambi (1.76m). The heaviest players are Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff (125kg) and the lightest players are Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronjé and Dillyn Leyds (85kg).
·         In the starting 15, only Kolisi, Etzebeth and Mtawarira have previously played against France.
·         Frans Steyn last played a Test for the Springboks in September, 2012. That match was against New Zealand in Dunedin.
·         Warren Whiteley is South Africa’s 58th Springbok captain. The 14th Springbok captain from the Golden Lions.
·         The following Test debutants will receive Springbok numbers as follows: Ross Cronjé #882; Courtnall Skosan #883 and Andries Coetzee #884. Should Dillyn Leyds be used as a substitute his Springbok number will be #885. Raymond Rhule has not played in a Test match before, but he earned his Springbok number (#845) in 2012 while touring with the Springboks to Ireland, Scotland and England.
·         Elton Jantjies needs 22 points to reach 100 points in Test rugby.
·         Frans Steyn needs 18 points to reach 150 points in Test rugby.


  • Ouch… Or maybe we need new blood.. Time will tell

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.06.17 14:11:45 by ebenp Reply
  • My only surprise is putting Frans Steyn on the bench, otherwise no real surprises.

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.06.17 14:12:40 by Hulk Reply
  • That is an even kakker team than I thought possible.

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.06.17 14:14:22 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 3) : ja . the loosies gets me .. rest not bad

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.06.17 14:29:48 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 4) : The Bulls centres 🙄

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.06.17 14:34:16 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Not trying to be too negative but there are some serious weak spots in this team and it could all implode badly, especially if the French come out ready to play. Reading that team list just doesn’t inspire confidence. Think we in for a repeat of 2016…hope im wrong

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.06.17 15:02:19 by SheldonK Reply

  • How do the bulls centres get in there? How did siya get in there? Surely makes more sense to let the inside centre be a lions guy if we planning to attack! Sigh I will never understand South African rugby 🙄

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.06.17 15:02:26 by Poisy Reply
  • One look at that team had me searching for alternatives to watching the game. No balance in loose trip and centres are not great.

    I compare it to the squad chosen by NZ and realise how far we have fallen behind.

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.06.17 15:03:20 by StevieS Reply
  • I bet this team could lose to the blues as well

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.06.17 15:04:18 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 7) : I don’t think there is a Lions inside centre in the squad. But yeh get your points

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.06.17 15:07:39 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 5) : the bulls outside center at inside center and bulls fullback you mean ?

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.06.17 15:10:02 by Zibbie Reply
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  • Boks by plenty. 🙄

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.06.17 15:10:51 by McLovin Reply

  • @Poisy (Comment 7) : That’s why we’re Sharks supporters, SA rugby in general makes zero sense to us….Go Sharks.

    I think SA-A will be more exciting than this….but even Sharkxv has me more excited than them.

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.06.17 15:11:41 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 10) : and there lies the problem. I’m so fed up with bok rugby. I will watch the bok A side instead

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.06.17 15:14:05 by Poisy Reply
  • I really wanted to avoid being overly negative but I’m really not inspired by the selections (although I’m not surprised). Loose Trio makes little sense and the centers confuse me even more. I will always stand behind the Boks but if we manage to win this series (which I fully expect us to do), I fear we’ll go into the RC with a false sense of confidence and some serious weaknesses when we play better teams.

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.06.17 15:34:38 by Hulk Reply

  • I know I am repeating what several have already said, but it does deserve repeating: The Bulls centres…REALLY?!

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.06.17 15:37:41 by pastorshark Reply
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  • It just doesn’t look like the best side on paper, does it? Oh well…good luck, boys…

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.06.17 15:40:01 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Frans Steyn has scored more points than the whole starting line-up put together – and he has only scored 132 points in a Springbok jersey…
    I guess that is just where we’re at at the moment…

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.06.17 15:42:15 by pastorshark Reply
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  • A team to strike fear into their opponents – not, and there lies the genius of this team/plan – make the opposition complaceent and give ourselves a chance of catching them not at their best.

    Anyway, all the best to Warren Whitely and the team.

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.06.17 16:19:43 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • Nothing really exciting in this team. The Centre pair probably the most boring AC could find. True to form Coetzee…

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.06.17 16:34:22 by coolfusion Reply

  • I simply can’t imagine that Frans Steyn is thrilled about returning to Bok Rugby for a spot on the bench behind this backline.

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.06.17 17:14:47 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • Maybe this team could beat the French (although I don’t think so) but they will not beat the All Blacks!!!!!

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.06.17 19:38:23 by JD Reply
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  • The worst defender in Super Rugby on the wing next to one Bulls centre and Bulls fullback 🙄 🙄 🙄

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.06.17 20:11:24 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @JD (Comment 22) : How many beers have you had????? :mrgreen: 😆 😛 Not only can this team not beat the French and the ABs, but it would also lose to Aus, Arg, Japan, Italy, and any of the Home Unions second teams missing their B&I Lions! :mrgreen: 😈

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.06.17 20:23:59 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 23) : The worst defender in Super Rugby with 0 Bok caps 😯 How in the world do you give a first cap to the worst defensive wing????

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.06.17 20:25:34 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 24) : don’t forget the SA A side!!! 😈

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.06.17 20:44:28 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 22) : Silly comment. We aren’t playing the All Blacks now.

    If you look at the All Black squad, in virtually every position they have a player with around 50 caps or more, their first back-up has 25-50 caps and their third back-up is a relative rookie.

    After HM’s Geriatric Boks we are in a building phase, accept it, with only 3 players in the squad with more than 50 caps and 21 players with less than 20 caps.. Our squad has 513 caps, the AB squad has 1100+ caps.

    We’re not going to beat the top team in the world this year.

    The team for Saturday looks iffy because most of the players have little international experience. We are not in a position to have a rookie slot into an established team, we have a new team with less than 500 caps.

    TBH, this is what should have happened last year, selecting a Lions core.

  • Comment 27, posted at 08.06.17 20:46:44 by Baylion Reply

  • @JD (Comment 26) : SA A is only playing next Friday, they only started practice this week

  • Comment 28, posted at 08.06.17 20:52:14 by Baylion Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 27) : I’m happy that there is a Lion’s core, I accept that we have to rebuild…but the Bulls Centres?! 😥 😥 😥

  • Comment 29, posted at 08.06.17 22:11:59 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 4) : Refreshingly different team. some what strange that Jaco Kriel isn’t at least on the bench. but Rhule deserves his spot and skosan would have been a bok last year if it wasn’t for his injury late in super rugby. AC the lions fullback earned his spot too, always bothered me that he only played like 8 min for us on loan cause of that freak injury, and go back and see what a weird hair cut he had on sharks debut lol.

    I’m ok with the bulls duo at centre, what were our other options ? steyn and jan ? steyn and jesse ? not a lot of familiarity there, and steyn hasnt looked in great form of late. didnt look that great for the barbarians either. but he does seem to lift his game for the boks so he will make a impact. Gone are the JW days when the boks where held to very high physical fitness standard.

    looking forward to seeing Counie come off the bench and dominate at tight head, although france seem to have corned the market on Giant mobile front rowers who can scrum so it may not be as easy as you think.

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.06.17 03:15:22 by revolverocelot Reply

  • Anybody has a list of weights and sizes?

    I fear this may only be a Bantam Bok team.

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.06.17 04:58:29 by fyndraai Reply
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  • All local starting team but only 1 Shark.
    Clearly something is amiss.

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.06.17 05:01:21 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 31) : Backline likely not the biggest available, but does it have to be ?

    this game is shaping up to be interesting. Not that excited about the AB’s vs the lions actually.

    But that England match 23 to take on Arg in San Juan is super intriguing. lots of players missing on lions duty, allowed jones to pick guys on the fringes of the squad or take a flyer on a few players. Happy to see henry slade back in the mix, at outside centre of all places. Sarries young FH at inside centre on paper filling the Farrell rule (swap back and forth with ford). Don Armand on the bench, wow I remember him breaking into the wp/streamer squad with robbie diack all those years ago, didnt think he was a world better but he was really good and was a big lose to the stormers when he left, the were desperate to keep him. good for him.

  • Comment 33, posted at 09.06.17 06:13:47 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 25) : I’m afraid that’s the price you pay for having a one track mind and deciding to go for all out attack. Lets see how this unfolds…

  • Comment 34, posted at 09.06.17 07:37:46 by Hulk Reply

  • What I do not get is that Ellendig was fast-tracked to the Bok Squad but Combrinck was not – both returning from injury at about the same time. Combrinck was his old self and did not even look like he was away – whereas Ellendig would probably have played had he not broken down again.

  • Comment 35, posted at 09.06.17 07:54:08 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 25) : I think the French will target the hole between Kriel (who struggles on defence at 13) and Rhule.

  • Comment 36, posted at 09.06.17 08:03:44 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Should have started with Steyn and Leyds moved Serf to outside center. But with what he has at his disposal he (coetzee) always manages to screw up available combos.

  • Comment 37, posted at 09.06.17 08:10:57 by coolfusion Reply

  • There are gaps from 12-14 the bulls performance intimate that neither kriel or serfontein are adequate defenders. As for Skosan he is playing in a very strong pack if he suddenly goes to a weak defensive backline he may also buckle he was not so hot two seasons ago only this one he started picking up again. Expect to be playing off nr 9 a lot as I don’t see Jantjies able to pull this band together.

  • Comment 38, posted at 09.06.17 08:23:19 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 38) : Hopefully Venter did not forget to teach these guys to defend

  • Comment 39, posted at 09.06.17 08:29:24 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @coolfusion (Comment 37) : I was looking forward to seeing Jantjies and Steyn play together. The only reason why I can see him benching Frans is that AC wanted the flyhalf and goalkicking backup to rather be on the bench

  • Comment 40, posted at 09.06.17 08:32:10 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 40) : Perhaps, but it’s hard to see Frans being pulled off the park early if he had started.

  • Comment 41, posted at 09.06.17 08:38:15 by Hulk Reply

  • @fyndraai (Comment 32) : No Sharks would have served my cause better. 😈

  • Comment 42, posted at 09.06.17 10:06:39 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 39) : He did when he was with us,so who knows..

  • Comment 43, posted at 09.06.17 10:08:03 by HeinF Reply

  • Any score predictions? Have a feeling France by 4

  • Comment 44, posted at 09.06.17 10:10:49 by HeinF Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 27) : Why is it silly, when we do play the AB’s and this team has 3 extra games under their belts do you see them beating the AB’s?

  • Comment 45, posted at 09.06.17 12:00:43 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • Our 2 has had trouble with his line-outs.
    We have a suspect 4 lock.
    That loose trio balance is iffy.
    Green 9, 11, 14, 15.
    Questionable 12, 13 combination.

    This is going to be a tough one for the Boks if France pitches up. Best of luck men.

  • Comment 46, posted at 09.06.17 12:02:33 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @HeinF (Comment 44) : my prediction is a 2-1 series win for the froggies. I reckon we will win the first one purely because no Clermont or Toulon players were selected.
    Totally unbalanced loose trio
    Inexperienced back 3 and scrummie.
    No one in the pack besides Etzebeth to provide for real go forward.
    No fetcher.
    Bulls centres..
    I would put the house on any NZ super team to klap this bunch at -6.5.
    -11.5 away from home

  • Comment 47, posted at 09.06.17 12:02:46 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 39) : We can always hope…Is Kockott playing at all?

  • Comment 48, posted at 09.06.17 12:53:01 by coolfusion Reply

  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 47) : The only go-forward provided by Eben Etsebeth is going forward to puff out his chest and stare at his opponents with crazy eyes during breaks in play. Just saying.

  • Comment 49, posted at 09.06.17 12:59:28 by Culling Song Reply
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  • France by 7-10

  • Comment 50, posted at 09.06.17 13:18:00 by coolfusion Reply

  • Boks by 15+

  • Comment 51, posted at 09.06.17 13:20:56 by McLovin Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 46) : Marx has improved a bit since last year, but our reserve 2 is not the best either.

  • Comment 52, posted at 09.06.17 13:30:27 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Culling Song (Comment 49) : 😀

  • Comment 53, posted at 09.06.17 13:30:56 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Let’s hope by the time Rugby Championship rolls around, we’ll have 1-Thomas du Toit, 4-Ruan Botha, 7-JL Dupz, 12-AE, 13-Am, 14-Nkosi…..can the blind squirrels see the potential of these players? (I very much doubt it)

  • Comment 54, posted at 09.06.17 15:40:53 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Culling Song (Comment 49) : Effy-beff is a dumb version of Matfield (Matfield at least had the brains to figure out opposition lineouts).

  • Comment 55, posted at 09.06.17 15:44:09 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 51) : On the Playstation?

  • Comment 56, posted at 09.06.17 17:44:54 by coolfusion Reply

  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 47) : Ja sounds about right. Frenchies will probably hash bone. Not sure which one.

  • Comment 57, posted at 09.06.17 17:46:03 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 57) : Fat fingers small keys.

  • Comment 58, posted at 09.06.17 17:46:30 by coolfusion Reply

  • The Boks may not be what they once were and my excitement for the game isn’t as intense as it once was but man I’m I keen to see our boys back in the green and gold. I hope the boys bring passion and grit today. Get focused boys go out and make us all proud.

  • Comment 59, posted at 10.06.17 10:40:11 by Hulk Reply


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