Springboks fullback Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux during the opening Test of the year between South Africa and Georgia at Loftus. Photo by Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

PREVIEW: Three Springboks with big opportunities on Saturday

As the Springboks prepare to take on Scotland in Edinburgh, we take a look at three players who will particularly have plenty to gain.

Springboks fullback Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux during the opening Test of the year between South Africa and Georgia at Loftus. Photo by Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

The Springboks’ second Test on their UK tour will kick off at 15:00 SA time, with Elton Jantjies and Willie le Roux returning to the backline, while in a rotational change in the pack, Franco Mostert slots into the second row.

Here we pick three players who will be in the spotlight:

WILLIE LE ROUX

Almost every time Le Roux takes to the field these days he finds himself at the centre of attention, and it will be no different on Saturday.

Although the Boks were set to continue blooding Damian Willemse at fullback on this tour, a concussion has opened the door for Le Roux to return to his familiar spot in the No 15 jersey.

With fine weather predicted for this weekend’s clash in Edinburgh, this is a prime opportunity for Le Roux to step in again and defy the critics who continue to suggest it’s time for him to make way for the younger generation.

You can expect Le Roux to regularly pop up as a playmaker for the Boks on Saturday, while putting his left boot to good use when it comes to winning all-important field position for the visitors.

READ | BOK COACH: WILLIE KNOWS EXACTLY WHERE HE STANDS

ELTON JANTJIES

Starting opportunities have been hard to come by in recent years for Jantjies, with Handre Pollard largely monopolising the No 10 jersey, but he has continued to fulfil an important role in the greater Bok squad.

In the Springboks’ last two Tests, against the All Blacks and Wales respectively, Jantjies has made a positive impression off the bench, and he looks to be playing with real confidence at the moment.

With his silky skills and deft kicking game, Jantjies will offer different threats against Scotland, but it’s also the fundamentals such as his goal-kicking and defence that will come under the microscope.

Whichever way you look at it though, this is a chance for Jantjies to take control of proceedings in Edinburgh and build some healthy competition at flyhalf.

READ | CAN ELTON UNLOCK SCOTLAND DEFENCE?

KWAGGA SMITH

It would have been easy to pinpoint Franco Mostert as a player with a big opportunity as he returns to run-on XV, but Smith is someone I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on once again.

The 28-year-old undoubtedly produced his best game in a Springbok jersey last Saturday, and it will be fascinating to see whether he can back that up with another highly influential display this weekend.

This will be Smith’s fourth successive start at blindside flank, and 12th Test appearance this year in a blockbuster season where he has featured in every Bok Test in 2021.

He seems to be growing in confidence with each Springboks performance, and this weekend presents another opening for him to continue enhancing his reputation in the 15-man game.

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