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Springboks rule out experiments in 'dead rubber' Test

AFP
19 June 2017 | Africa
South Africa national rugby team head coach Allister Coetzee said he's pleased with the effort of his players.  By GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (AFP/File)
South Africa national rugby team head coach Allister Coetzee said he's pleased with the effort of his players. By GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (AFP/File)

Johannesburg (AFP) - South Africa coach Allister Coetzee has ruled out picking an experimental team for the "dead rubber" final Test against France in Johannesburg this Saturday.

The Springboks took an uncatchable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series by winning 37-15 in Durban last Saturday, having triumphed 37-14 in Pretoria seven days earlier.

"There will not be wholesale changes for Saturday," stressed Coetzee during a Monday media briefing at the team hotel in a Johannesburg suburb.

"We have to improve in certain areas so there is a need to retain combinations that have worked nicely, and maintain our continuity.

"The fact that we have won the series will not influence our approach to the match at Ellis Park.

"We will continue to work on our processes because there is still a lot of work to be done.

"I am, however, pleased with the progress and the effort of the players in the previous two matches."

There will be one enforced change with flanker Oupa Mohoje ruled out after suffering concussion in a Durban collision with France forward Louis Picamoles.

Jean-Luc du Preez, a son of former Springboks scrum-half Robert du Preez, is the probable replacement and fit-again Jaco Kriel could make his first appearance on the bench.

A decision on the availability of centre Jesse Kriel, who was concussed in the first Test, will be made ahead of Thursday's team announcement.

Coetzee has warned the Springboks not to underestimate Les Bleus, even though the tourists finished a well-beaten team in both Tests.

"We know that France will be playing for pride and are preparing for a huge backlash from them," said the coach.

The clinical victories over France have restored some public faith in Coetzee after his calamitous first season in charge saw twice world champions South Africa lose eight of 12 Tests.

Less than 30,000 spectators watched the Pretoria Test, but there was a satisfactory 42,000 crowd in Durban.

With half the Springboks team composed of players from the Johannesburg-based Golden Lions, including skipper Warren Whiteley, a good crowd is expected at the 60,000-seat Ellis Park.

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