Wed, 21 Aug 2019

Mbonambi looks to make most of rare start

News24
19 Jul 2019, 07:12 GMT+10

Cape Town - For most of his international career, Bongi Mbonambi has had to be content with playing off the bench.

On Saturday against the Wallabies in Johannesburg, he will earn just his 5th start in what will be his 27th Test.

It is a rare opportunity for the 28-year-old, who last started a Test match back in September last year when the Boks lost to the Wallabies in Brisbane.

Mbonambi is firmly behind Malcolm Marx in the pecking order when it comes to Bok hookers ahead of this year's World Cup in Japan, but he has taken the steps to solidify his role on the bench over the past couple of seasons.

While he has had troubles with injury in 2019, Mbonambi was hugely impressive over his 12 Springbok appearances of 2018.

The highlight of his year came in the November 10 win over France in Paris.

The Boks were 26-22 down going into the final few minutes when Mbonambi came on to replace Marx.

The Stormers hooker played like a man possessed and scored the match-winning try four minutes after the hooter as the Boks secured a famous 29-26 win.

"The game has changed, the players have changed and the team has changed, but for me that was a massive confidence booster," Mbonambi said in Johannesburg on Wednesday in remembering his contribution in Paris.

"When you put on the green and gold jersey it is just a different kind of level and a different feeling ... I'm just really excited about this weekend."

Mbonambi says it is important not to look beyond the threat the Wallabies pose, despite it being a World Cup year.

While he has not had as much game time as he would have like this year, Mbonambi is desperate to get out on the park and play for the Boks once more.

"You're really excited and your energy levels are running high to get out there and do the work," he said.

"But you also think about being underdone and the massive hits you're going to take and getting up from the ground and getting around the park at a match intensity.

"Every time you train and do lineouts and scrums, we use that as an opportunity to lift ourselves ... but it doesn't help if we don't take it to the weekend."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds

Australia

15 Tom Banks , 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Folau Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt To'omua, 23 Kurtley Beale

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