Sbu Nkosi laments the Willie le Roux penalty. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
- Fewer blank pages on S’bu Nkosi’s passport opened the path for Jesse Kriel to play in his 49th Test when he starts for the Springboks against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
- Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber confirmed that Nkosi’s passport was valid, but he requires a new one with more pages to obtain a United Kingdom visa.
- Damian Willemse will also be starting at fullback in place of the rested Willie le Roux.
Fewer blank pages on S’busiso Nkosi’s passport and not an expired travel document stopped the winger from playing in Saturday’s Test against Wales.
Nkosi’s absence from right-wing allowed Jesse Kriel to be moved into the position while Damian Willemse will start at fullback ahead of Willie le Roux.
The Test will be Kriel’s 49th, but his first since the 14 August Rugby Championship outing against Argentina in Gqeberha as Lukhanyo Am at 13 and Nkosi at 14 have been difficult to dislodge in the midfield.
In that 32-12 win, Kriel played at 13 in a game where the Boks kept a clean sheet from a try-scoring perspective.
However, Nkosi went onto play in three of the four Rugby Championship Tests against Australia (two) and New Zealand (one), where he played well.
“S’bu’s passport is valid, but to obtain a visa for the United Kingdom, you need a set amount of blank pages on your passport,” Nienaber said.
“He’s had to apply for a fresh passport with more pages and that’s what he’s waiting for at the moment.”
While Saturday’s Test will be Kriel’s fifth one against Wales, it will be Willemse’s second one, along with his third start for the Boks.
Like Kriel, Willemse hasn’t tasted recent success against Wales, but the utility back was more concerned with doing well with the chance that’s come his way.
“I’m always grateful for the opportunity and the honour to play for the Springboks, while I also remain grateful to the coaches for trusting me,” Willemse said.
“I’m excited about Saturday’s game and it will be a big challenge for us, so we hope to make it a good weekend.”
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn
Source by www.news24.com