Coetzee mounts ‘Operation Survival’ at Cardiff


Coetzee named one of the youngest backlines in two decades - with just 40 Test caps among all the backs - to face an established and experienced Welsh team.

“We are seeking revival, not redemption and I want the guys to play without fear against Wales and enjoy it. I think there was a fear of failure against Italy which showed itself in overthinking but there is a different mindset this week,” said Coetzee.

The Bok coach has been under fire since his team lost to Italy last week - the historic defeat, the seventh in 11 starts. Hoping to avoid going through a year-end tour without a single win for the first time since the Rudolph Straeuli-coach Boks lost to France, Scotland and England in 2002, Coetzee opted for wholesale changes.

Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jamba Ulengo and Uzair Cassiem will make their Springbok debuts in Cardiff. A fourth uncapped player, Jean-Luc du Preez, has been included on the bench.

Strongly-built inside centre Janse van Rensburg, who takes over from Damian de Allende in a rotational switch, and wing Ulengo, who is in for Bryan Habana, are part of a reshuffled backline announced by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday.

Both Janse van Rensburg and Ulengo played for South Africa in the non-cap international against the Barbarians three weeks ago at Wembley Stadium in London, but will now become officially capped Springboks. Cassiem, who didn't feature against the BaaBaas, will also get his Test debut after Willem Alberts was ruled out because of a neck niggle.

A new-look backline also sees the return of Francois de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) as halfback combination, while there is a further change at fullback, with Johan Goosen named to start in the No.15 jersey.

Apart from rotational changes and injuries, some of the selections were made with the building process towards 2019 in mind.

“We have a less experienced team, but I want to see some energy and an improved performance,” said Coetzee.

“Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and the necessity to build towards 2019. “Uzair was impressive during our domestic competitions and he was the man of the match in the Currie Cup Final.



“He made a good impression during the build-up to the Barbarians match and has continued to work hard on this tour since re-joining us.

“Jamba, Uzair and Rohan are examples of players who have forced their way into the squad through consistently performing well on the domestic scene and during training on tour, and now they are getting their opportunities to play for the Boks.

“Even though Damian played well against England and Italy we felt Rohan deserved an opportunity.” Regarding the challenge of facing Wales at home in front of a passionate crowd of 75 000 at the Principality Stadium, Coetzee said he expects another huge battle between the two sides.

“Recent matches between us have always delivered close fought battles and small point margins and I expect more of the same on Saturday,” said Coetzee.

Original source: Coetzee mounts 'Operation Survival' at Cardiff