Toyota Cheetahs’ Venter leads changes for South Africa

Rich Dore
16 November 2017

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Toyota Cheetahs captain Francois Venter is in line to earn his fifth Springbok cap after being included in the starting XV to face France in Paris on Saturday.

The Cheetahs centre came on as a second-half replacement for Damien de Allende in South Africa’s 38-3 defeat to Ireland last week, and is one of 10 changes to the matchday 23.

Venter will start at inside centre with Toulon No.8 Duane Vermeulen coming into a rejigged back row alongside Bath’s Francois Louw and Siya Kolisi.

Fly-half Handré Pollard is in for Elton Jantjies and prop Wilco Louw is handed a first Test start whilst uncapped loose forward Dan du Preez is included amongst the replacements.

Louw earns his starting debut in place of Coenie Oosthuizen, who suffered a serious knee injury in Dublin, whilst back-rower Pieter-Steph du Toit drops out of the 23 due to concussion.

Venter, 26, made his Test debut in 2016 and will relish the opportunity to go from the off for the Springboks after his 23-minute cameo last week.

The Cheetahs man is of course very accustomed to European rugby having starred for the South African club this year, skippering his side to third in Conference A of the Guinness PRO14.

Despite only making six Guinness PRO14 appearances Venter has scored one try and made 71 carries – amongst the highest in the league.

And anybody who’s watched him in domestic affairs this term will also know that the 6ft 1in centre is adept at offloading – something France will have to watch out for on Saturday.

South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee is targeting an improved performance after last weekend’s defeat to Joe Schmidt’s men.

“We have to fight back and play much better after our poor performance against Ireland,” he said.

“France is a much changed and improved side and will certainly pose a different challenge this time.

“They have a new half-back combination and a strong ball-carrying midfield, so they’re definitely not the same team we faced in June in South Africa.”

The Springbok team to face France in Paris on Saturday:

15. Andries Coetzee, Emirates Lions – 10 caps
14. Dillyn Leyds, DHL Stormers – 6 caps
13. Jesse Kriel, Vodacom Bulls – 26 caps
12. Francois Venter, Toyota Cheetahs – 4 caps
11. Courtnall Skosan, Emirates Lions – 10 caps
10. Handré Pollard, Vodacom Bulls – 23 caps
9. Ross Cronje, Emirates Lions – 7 caps
8. Duane Vermeulen, Toulon (France) – 37 caps
7. Siya Kolisi, DHL Stormers – 26 caps
6. Francois Louw, Bath (England) – 55 caps
5. Lood de Jager, Vodacom Bulls – 33 caps
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain), DHL Stormers – 64 caps
3. Wilco Louw, DHL Stormers – 2 caps
2. Malcolm Marx, Emirates Lions – 12 caps
1. Tendai Mtawarira, Cell C Sharks – 96 caps
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi, DHL Stormers – 12 caps
17. Steven Kitshoff, DHL Stormers – 20 caps
18. Trevor Nyakane, Vodacom Bulls – 34 caps
19. Franco Mostert, Emirates Lions/Ricoh Black Rams (Jap) – 16 caps
20. Dan du Preez, Cell C Sharks – 0 caps
21. Rudy Paige, Vodacom Bulls – 12 caps
22. Elton Jantjies, Emirates Lions/NTT Shining Arcs (Japan) – 21 caps
23. Damian de Allende, DHL Stormers – 28 caps

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

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