Alberts out, Cassiem set to start for Boks

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Independent Media understands that Alberts, who left the field with a neck problem in last week’s 20-18 defeat to Italy in Florence, has failed a fitness test.

Bok coach Allister Coetzee will name his team later on Thursday, and he is set to reward Cheetahs blindside flank Cassiem for an outstanding season in Super Rugby and Currie Cup with the No 7 jersey at the Millennium Stadium in place of Alberts, who would’ve started if he was cleared.

The 26-year-old Cassiem was the Man of the Match for a relentless performance on attack and in defence in the Currie Cup final, but did not feature in the match-23 for the Springboks against the Barbarians in the first tour game at Wembley on November 5, which was not a Test.

After being sent home from London as he was not part of the Test squad, Cassiem was recalled by Coetzee as a replacement for the injured Roelof Smit.

Hailing from Strand in the Western Cape, Cassiem first made his name at provincial level for the Pumas from 2012 to 2015, before joining the Cheetahs this year. He was unlucky to miss out on selection against Ireland and in the Rugby Championship after consistently good displays in Super Rugby, but Coetzee couldn’t ignore him any longer for the November trip – especially with the likes of Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi and Sikhumbuzo Notshe being injured.

Cassiem has a high work-rate around the field, and has the ability to carry strongly, make a lot of tackles and compete for the ball at the breakdowns. He is a physical, aggressive loose forward, but also possesses classy offloading skills, all of which would complement the playmaking abilities of Warren Whiteley and Nizaam Carr.

Perhaps most importantly, Cassiem would have to assist Carr at the breakdowns, with Wales set to pick two fetchers in captain Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric.

Coetzee is likely to field a new-look backline as well, with Lions stars Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies and Rohan Janse van Rensburg set to start, while Jamba Ulengo could also make his Test debut at left wing.

ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

@ashfakmohamed

Independent Media

Original source: Alberts out, Cassiem set to start for Boks

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