Siya Kolisi’s off-weekend for Saturday’s second Test between the Springboks and Wales in Bloemfontein can hardly be considered a “luxury”.
National coach Jacques Nienaber made that point plainly clear after installing Handre Pollard as South Africa’s skipper for a combination that features an almighty 19 changes.
“We’re not giving Siya a rest, we have a plan that we want to execute. We discussed our plan. It’s purely a case of having boxes to tick and having a certain idea of how we want to eventually end this series without compromising performance. That’s the big challenge.”
Last week’s narrow 32-29 victory at Loftus has indeed allowed the Boks to implement their plan of using all 42 players in the current national group during this three-match series as the part of their long-term preparation for next year’s World Cup in France.
The pedigree of Kolisi invariably means that his absence is a prominent talking point ahead of the match, but there’s definitely no doubt among Nienaber and co that Pollard, the loose forward’s official deputy, will make his presence felt.
“Handre is a leader,” said the Bok mentor.
“He’s our vice-captain, so it’s a normal role for him. He’s definitely a natural choice for this responsibility.”