Franco Mostert looks a certainty to start against the All Blacks - Photo GB Jordaan
What team will Rassie Erasmus come up with on Wednesday when he announces his team to play the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday?
It is a game he dearly wants to win to create confidence and momentum ahead if the World Cup when the Springboks kick off their campaign against the self-same All Blacks, defending champions and determined to become the first team to win the World title three times in a row.
And while the doubters are still searching for excuses why they were wrong in not foreseeing the wallop of the Wallabies, Erasmus and his charges are quietly confident of strengthening their lead in the truncated Rugby Championship by winning this match.
But, and this is a very big but: A defeat will not break the resolve of the Boks, nor will it make them believe that the All Blacks are invincible.
For Saturday, it is expected that of last Saturday’s victors only Pieter-Steph du Toit at No 7 will be retained in the run-on side with Eben Etzebeth a strong possibility to join him in the run-on tunnel.
The rest of the side will likely be the remainder of the players who had been in New Zealand for the past week during which time they did their preparation under the supervision of some of Erasmus’ coaching team.
The front row will in all likelihood be the threesome that has featured most under Erasmus in recent tests: Steve Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Frans Erasmus. It is known that Erasmus wants a workhorse at lock – and Franco Mostert is that man with his honest work rate and tackling prowess around the rucks.
With him RG Snyman will probably have to take a bench-seat. Etzebeth could start, with the aggression and game-breaking ability (strange to say that of a lock, isn’t it!) of Snyman coming later on.
Duane Vermeulen picks himself at No 8 and Kwagga Smith will probably fill the roving fetcher’s role to curb Ardie Savea’s ability as fetcher.
The backline will probably be Willie le Roux, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk, who remains the number one scrumhalf notwithstanding the outstanding debut performance by Herschel Jantjies last weekend.