Marx

Springbok hooker, Malcolm Marx. Photo: SA Rugby website

Malcolm Marx returns after NINE months!

Malcolm Marx returns to rugby against Wales after nine months. Erasmus faces crucial decisions on leadership and team selection.

Marx

Springbok hooker, Malcolm Marx. Photo: SA Rugby website

According to a recent article by Rapport, Malcolm Marx is poised to make his return to rugby in three weeks against Wales after a nine-month absence.

This comeback, scheduled for 22 June at Twickenham, will be his first game since his injury at last year’s World Cup.

Springboks’ Captaincy Decision

The inclusion of Marx in the starting line-up has implications for the team’s leadership. With Siya Kolisi unavailable, Rassie Erasmus, the Springboks’ coach, faces a decision on who will captain the team.

The likely candidates are Pieter-Steph du Toit or Eben Etzebeth. Bongi Mbonambi, another potential captain, will support Marx in the starting line-up but cannot lead the team.

Erasmus’ Preparation Challenge

Erasmus is under pressure to get Marx match-fit after his prolonged injury break. Marx hasn’t played since September 10, when he was injured in a World Cup match against Scotland.

This absence means Marx will start without any recent match practice, a significant challenge for the coach.

Managing Marx’s Playing Time

An insider from Rapport mentioned that Erasmus intends to carefully manage Marx’s playing time against Wales.

Marx’s injury occurred during training in Toulon, sidelining him from both the World Cup and his club duties with Kubota Spears in Japan.

The recent end of the Japan Top League means Marx won’t have any game time before the Test against Wales.

Importance of Experienced Players

Marx, who has 64 Tests to his name since debuting against the All Blacks in 2016, is expected to be a key player for the Springboks, especially in upcoming matches against Ireland in July.

Erasmus had initially considered appointing Mbonambi, Etzebeth, or Du Toit as captain in Kolisi’s absence, aiming to choose someone with prior leadership experience.

Unavailable Players for Wales Test

The Test against Wales falls outside the World Rugby Test window, making several overseas-based players unavailable. This includes Kolisi, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Jasper Wiese (who is suspended), Handré Pollard, and Cobus Reinach.

Similarly, Wales coach Warren Gatland will be missing his overseas stars, including Tommy Reffell, Nick Tompkins, Archie Griffin, Dafydd Jenkins, Will Rowlands, and Dillon Lewis.

Potential Springboks Line-up

Despite these absences, Erasmus can still field a strong team against Wales. Potential players include Aphelele Fassi, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Siya Masuku, Faf de Klerk, Phepsi Buthelezi, Du Toit, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Marx, and Nche.

Bench Selection and PRC Final Impact

Erasmus will need to make strategic decisions about his bench if players from the Stormers and Bulls are unavailable due to their involvement in the PRC final on June 22.

This situation also affects the selection of a third hooker for the tour group, with Marnus van der Merwe from the Cheetahs being a strong contender if other hookers like André-Hugo Venter, Joseph Dweba, Johan Grobbelaar, and Jan-Hendrik Wessels are unavailable.

Conclusion

Marx’s return to the Springboks is eagerly anticipated, bringing his experience and skills back to the team.

Erasmus faces crucial decisions in the lead-up to the Test against Wales, which will set the stage for important matches against Ireland.

The management of Marx’s return and the captaincy decision will be pivotal for the Springboks’ performance.