Roos finally gets his shot as Springboks prepare for battle against England

Springbok loose forward Evan Roos is finally set to get his chance to shine after he was named as the starting eigthman for the Springboks final end-of-year-tour match against England at Twickenham on Saturday evening.

Roos made his Bok debut against Wales back in July in an experimental team, playing under 50 minutes in that game, and then had to wait until the past weekend’s massive win over Italy to make his second appearance, coming off the bench and impressing with an action packed cameo.

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Regular Bok number eight Jasper Wiese is one of a number of English and French based players unavailable for the game due to it falling outside of the Test window, which has opened the door for Roos as well as a few other players to impress in a big game in front of a partisan home crowd.

“We always knew that this game was outside of the Test match window and if you look at the development of the squad over the year, the growth of some of the players and us developing a succession plan in key positions, this is the perfect game,” explained Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.

“We always saw this Test match as an opportunity to get some of the less experienced players involved, so I think it’s a great opportunity for them and we are looking forward to seeing how they perform.

“England obviously have this relationship with their clubs and can have all their players and we can’t. But we still feel we have selected a team good enough to compete against them.”

Flyhalf temptation

Nienaber was also asked about whether he was tempted to give Manie Libbok a run at flyhalf, after his brilliant showing off the bench against Italy, but claimed that getting more game time into Damian Willemse in the position was important.

“Manie is going from strength to strength in the squad. He has only been with us for eight weeks and you can see how he is taking more ownership of things both on and off the field,” said Nienaber.

“We are really excited to see what he can do at Twickenham, especially in a bigger game under a lot of pressure, which will be similar to what he experienced in Marseille. It’s good for his development and we are happy to have him with us.

“But I think Damian is doing well at 10. He is driving the team forward and he is only just starting to settle in at 10, so he is also getting lekker experience in the position, as we know he can do it for us at 12 and 15.”

Other changes from the team that did business against Italy, sees Makazole Mapimpi back on the left wing, Jesse Kriel back at outside centre and Eben Etzebeth returns to start after playing off the bench last week.

On the bench Jaden Hendrikse and Canan Moodie are back in the mix, while SA A players Thomas du Toit and Marco van Staden also come in.

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