Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and popular supporters group, the Gwijo Squad, shared a special moment with hooker Joseph Dweba this week.
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Dweba will start Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand at Ellis Park following the withdrawal of Bongi Mbonambi.
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Dweba, who started both Tests he has played to date – against Wales in Bloemfontein in July and Argentina in Nelson Mandela Bay last year – will pack down alongside his former Cheetahs team-mate Ox Nche, with whom he progressed through SA Rugby’s national development pathway, which included featuring together for the Junior Springboks and SA Schools team.
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It’s sure to be a special moment for Dweba as he makes a long-awaited return to the starting team, and a Proudly South African video clip has now emerged to show how Siya Kolisi and the Gwijo Squad celebrated his selection.
Watch the video with Siya Kolisi and Joseph Dweba below:
Meanwhile, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said Mbonambi would go for scans to his knee, but with limited training time left before Saturday’s Test with one field session scheduled for Wednesday and the captains run on Friday, and an important three-match tour to Australia and Argentina ahead, as well as the year-end tour, the coaches opted to withdraw Mbonambi for this clash.
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“We have an important Rugby Championship tour coming up and a year-end tour later this year, so we don’t want to take any risks with Bongi,” said Nienaber.
“Joseph has been working hard at training and he’s been waiting patiently for his chance, and we feel that it doesn’t get better than facing the All Blacks, who are one of the best teams in the world.
“We have big squad and a large part of the logic around that decision was to ensure that all the players are familiar with our structures and systems, and to expose them to Test rugby to build our squad depth with an eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup. So, this will be a fantastic opportunity for Joseph.”
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Nienaber said Dweba’s strong combination with Nche also played a role in his leap straight into the Boks’ starting lineup.
“Joseph and Ox come a long way together. They’ve played close to 100 first-class games together, and they know each other well on and off the field having played together since school level at HTS Louis Botha.
“They progressed through the SA Rugby junior rugby ranks together before forming a strong combination at the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup and Pro14 competitions, and we believe their familiarity will give us the best chance in this match,” added Nienaber.
15 Damian Willemse (Stormers), 14 Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), 13 Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), 12 Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), 11 Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), 10 Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers), 9 Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Ulster), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), 6 Siya Kolisi (captain, Sharks), 5 Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Sharks), 3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2 Joseph Dweba (Stormers), 1 Ox Nche (Sharks)
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), 17 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), 18 Vincent Koch (Wasps), 19 Franco Mostert (Honda Heat), 20 Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers), 21 Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), 22 Hershel Jantjies (Stormers), 23 Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz)
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ethan de Groot
Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 George Bower, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Quinn Tupaea