Gelant gets first start for Boks on the wing

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15 February 2015: Warrick Gelant (12) of South Africa during the USA Sevens Rugby tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. South Africa would defeat the United States 31-0 in round five of the HSBC Sevens World Series. (Photo by Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

NO ONE can ever claim to know how Allister Coetzee’s mind works. For a while now, there has been a huge clamour for Warrick Gelant to be given a chance at fullback. The reason is simple. Gelant is the best fullback the country has at the moment, despite his age. In what were seen as important matches, Coetzee chose to snub the Bulls player, but is now opting to play him in the match against Wales today at the Principality stadium.

But not all is still clear with Gelant getting his Springbok debut in the game that will see South Africa seek to avenge their loss to Wales last year. Instead of picking him in the No 15 jersey, Coetzee has taken an unexpected route, naming Gelant to start at wing, with Andries Coetzee holding on to the fullback jersey and Dillyn Leyds occupying the other wing. Gelant, who impressed on his Bok debut last week when he came on as a second half replacement against Italy, has replaced Courtnall Skosan on the left wing. “Warrick is an elusive runner, he used his opportunity last week and I am looking forward to see him getting a start on Saturday.

“It is also great to welcome Malcolm Marx back. However, Bongi Mbonambi did a superb job against Italy and I expect the same performance from him when he comes on later in the game,” Coetzee said. The Boks coach explained some of the selection decisions, which will see Dan du Preez also making his Springbok debut, in place of Duane Vermeulen, while Marx managed to shrug off his shoulder problem to regain the No 2 jersey from Mbonambi, who moves to the bench. Steven Kitshoff replaces the experienced Tendai Mtawarira, who is suffering from a groin injury.

Siya Kolisi is back in the side after missing the Italy Test because of paternal leave and replaces Francois Louw on the side of the scrum. Coetzee said the Wales clash will be seen as an opportunity for the team to grow. “We expect another gruelling contest against a strong team. It is another opportunity for this side to develop and grow playing at the Principality Stadium in front of a passionate crowd of more than 65000. “Wales are renowned for their passing game and their width on attack,” the Boks coach warned. • The match kick offs at 4.30pm.

mmasekepem@thenewage.co.za

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