Springboks No 8 Kwagga Smith / Gordon Arons/Gallo Images

Springboks loose forward Kwagga Smith. Image: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images.

Springboks explain why Kwagga Smith is at No 8, not Evan Roos

The Springboks have explained why Kwagga Smith was elevated to start at No 8 at a time when are calling for Evan Roos to crack the nod.

Springboks No 8 Kwagga Smith / Gordon Arons/Gallo Images

Springboks loose forward Kwagga Smith. Image: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images.

Jasper Wiese was initially selected to start at the back of the scrum, but the 27-year-old has since been ruled out with a concussion, prompting Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber to call on Smith, with Deon Fourie coming onto the bench.

The Boks are heading into a crucial clash against France, with kick-off at 22:00 (SA time) on Saturday night, and there is certainly quite a big difference between the styles of play offered by Smith and Wiese.


Many supporters and pundits have been clamouring for specialist No 8 Evan Roos to get a look in, but the Boks have opted to stick with experience.

“We were waiting on Jasper to pass the required concussion protocols, and given the late decision, we though it made sense to select Deon on the bench,” director of rugby Rassie Erasmus explained.

“We didn’t foresee Jasper not being available, as we thought he had a very good chance to play. But this is the first time we encountered such a situation and with these concussion protocols I’m sure it will happen more going forward.

“We opted for Kwagga because he is an out-and-out No 8, and when we train, he is our second choice No 8. Over and above that he can cover a few positions.”



15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Kwagga Smith 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Makazole Mapimpi.


15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Yoram Moefana, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
Substitutes: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Sipili Falatea, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Bastien Chalureau, 21 Sekou Macalou, 22 Maxime Lucu, 23 Matthieu Jalibert.


Played 44; Won 27; Lost 11; Drawn 6; Points for: 939, Points against: 662; Tries scored 105, Tries conceded 59; Highest score 52-10; Biggest win 42 points. Win % 61%.

The official Springboks team photo for the Test against France in 2022
The Springboks team that will play against France in Marseille on Saturday. Image: SA Rugby.