Former Bok assistant coach Alan Solomons has questioned some of the selections for the second Test against New Zealand in Johannesburg, including the decision to leave Malcolm Marx on the bench.
Originally left out of the matchday-23 entirely, Joseph Dweba was brought into the starting lineup to face New Zealand after Bongi Mbonambi picked up a knock to his knee during a training session on Tuesday afternoon.
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Marx will keep his place on the bench despite his man of the match performance in the 26-10 victory over the All Blacks at Mbombela Stadium in the opening round of the Rugby Championship.
That decision has drawn the ire of veteran coach Solomons, who served as Springbok assistant under Nick Mallett between 1997 and 2000.
Writing for the New Zealand HeraldSolomons said that, together with the absence of Faf de Klerk, Marx’s absence from the starting lineup with leave the Springboks with a weaker spine at Ellis Park on Saturday.
“Dweba, parachuted into the starting line-up 24 hours after Bongi Mbonambi was named in the run-on XV, is a good player but is not at the same level as Mbonambi and Marx,” Solomons wrote.
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“Losing Mbonambi is not helpful to the Springbok cause and it may assist the All Blacks.
“The All Blacks struggled with the pressure the Springboks put on them at the breakdown and Marx was one of the key protagonists. His athleticism, immense physical presence and rugby intellect makes him so effective. He may well come on at halftime but I don’t understand the thinking of not starting him at hooker this weekend.”
“With Faf de Klerk out with concussion, the spine of South Africa’s side at No 2 and No 9 is not as strong as it was last week.
For Hendrikse this game will be different in a way. He may have run on after only 43 seconds but he didn’t come into the first test thinking he would start. It will be an interesting 80 minutes for him at Ellis Park. I thought Hendrikse did well but this is a big test for him.”
Solomons also questioned the wisdom of bringing Duane Vermeulen straight back into the starting lineup after the No 8 spent a period on the sidelines following knee surgery.
“In terms of Vermeulen, he has outstanding experience and provides good leadership but it will be a big ask starting the second Test. In fairness to Jasper Wiese, he had a good Test match and acquitted himself well. Having recently returned from injury, I don’t see Vermeulen lasting beyond halftime.”
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