CAPE TOWN - Jake White has opted to stick with regular lock Ruan Nortjé at blindside flank for Saturday’s Rainbow Cup final against Benetton in Treviso.
The 22-year-old has operated at No 5 for most of the season, but put in a typically busy performance at No 7 in last week’s 34-22 victory over the Sharks in Durban.
White said previously that Nortjé has the potential to expand his repertoire in much the same way that Springbok star Pieter-Steph du Toit did by moving from lock to blindside flank.
The coach also wants Nortjé to add some weight going forward, and will then determine whether the youngster can play in both the second row and loose trio.
Experienced Bok loose forward Nizaam Carr also gets a start in Italy (6.15pm SA time kickoff), with his versatility allowing him to come in at openside flank for Marco van Staden, who has joined the national team camp in Bloemfontein.
Carr will play towards the ball, but with the match set to be played on a firm pitch and in hot conditions – a temperature of 34 degrees is expected in Treviso on Saturday – his ball-carrying and silky skills on attack could come in handy.
Chris Smith will slot in at flyhalf for Morné Steyn, while Jan Uys has been brought in at lock for Janko Swanepoel, who will play off the bench.
Lizo Gqoboka has recovered from an ankle issue to be amongst the reserves, where Jacques van Rooyen will be the tighthead back-up to Mornay Smith.
15 David Kriel 14 Madosh Tambwe 13 Marco Jansen van Vuren 12 Cornal Hendricks 11 Stravino Jacobs 10 Chris Smith 9 Ivan van Zyl 8 Marcell Coetzee (captain) 7 Ruan Nortjé 6 Nizaam Carr 5 Jan Uys 4 Walt Steenkamp 3 Mornay Smith 2 Johan Grobbelaar 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Bench: 16 Schalk Erasmus 17 Jacques van Rooyen 18 Lizo Gqoboka 19 Janko Swanepoel 20 Muller Uys 21 Zak Burger 22 Clinton Swart 23 Gio Aplon.
Non-playing travelling reserves: 24 Robert Hunt 25 Keagan Johannes 26 WJ Steenkamp 27 Dawid Kellerman 28 Sydney Tobias.