Malcolm Marx Springboks

South Africa have confirmed that hooker Malcolm Marx will miss the rest of Rugby World Cup 2023 with a “long-term” knee injury. Photo: SA Rugby website

Is this what the Springboks’ new bomb squad will look like?

As the Springboks head towards the World Cup, it will be interesting to see how their famed bench is configured. We take a closer look.

Malcolm Marx Springboks

South Africa have confirmed that hooker Malcolm Marx will miss the rest of Rugby World Cup 2023 with a “long-term” knee injury. Photo: SA Rugby website

The Springboks’ World Cup squad does feature a strong mix of youth and experience, but there was disappointment for three of the starting XV from the 32-12 victory over England in Yokohama four years ago who were ruled out by injury and illness.

Flyhalf Handre Pollard (calf), Lukhanyo Am (knee) and Lood de Jager (chest problem) have been placed on standby with six other players, with all three veterans having previously been expected to feature in the starting lineup.

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Four year ago, the Springboks coined the phrase of referring to their bench as the ‘bomb squad’, with a six-two forwards-to-backs split enabling them to offer real firepower up front in the second half.

It will be interesting to see whether the coaches stick to this strategy at the upcoming World Cup, or whether they look to find space for an extra backline impact player such as Canan Moodie.

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Could the bomb squad look like this for the ‘big’ games at the World Cup?

Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Canan Moodie, 23 Damian Willemse.

With this bench in mind, this is how we think the starting line up could look:

Possible Springboks line up: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 RG Snyman, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

*Let us know what you think of this team by clicking on the ‘add comment’ button at the end of the article.

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Springboks Rugby World Cup squad:


Props: Steven Kitshoff (Ulster – 74 caps, 10 points), Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks – 45 caps, 0 points), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers – 61 caps, 5 points), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks – 19 caps, 0 points), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92 – 61 caps, 5 points).

Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks – 60 caps, 60 points), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears – 61 caps, 75 points).

Locks: Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks – 112 caps, 25 points), Jean Kleyn (Munster – 2 caps, 0 points), Marvin Orie (Perpignan – 14 caps, 0 points), RG Snyman (Munster – 26 caps, 5 points).

Loose Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz – 69 caps, 30 points), Siya Kolisi (captain – Racing 92 – 75 caps, 45 points), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs – 33 caps, 25 points), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls – 12 caps, 0 points), Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby – 68 caps, 15 points), Jasper Wiese (Leicester – 22 caps, 5 points).

Utility Forwards: Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers – 7 caps, 0 points), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat – 65 caps, 15 points).

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Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles – 48 caps, 44 points), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks – 12 caps, 12 points), Cobus Reinach (Montpelllier – 25 caps, 45 points), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks – 4 caps, 0 points).

Flyhalves: Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers – 7 caps, 45 points), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers – 31 caps, 36 points).

Centres: Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights – 72 caps, 50 points), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins – 13 caps, 0 points), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles – 61 caps, 60 points).

Outside Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls – 9 caps, 50 points), Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath – 25 caps, 81 points), Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls – 86 caps, 65 points), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks – 38 caps, 115 points), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls – 6 caps, 10 points).

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The Springboks’ World Cup squad. Photo: Twitter