DEBUT COMING UP: Prop Steven Kitshoff. CREDIT: Sourced
It perhaps wasn’t in the plan to make wholesale changes to the Springboks team for the series decider against Ireland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

But the rugby gods have spoken and now Allister Coetzee will have to plan accordingly.

With prop Trevor Nyakane (ankle), Lood de Jager (calf) and No.8 Duane Vermeulen (elbow) already ruled out of the match, it is expected that Coetzee will call on Steven Kitshoff and one of Jaco Kriel or Sikhumbuzo Notshe to make their debuts.

If Warren Whiteley is declared fit - he is still being monitored by the coaching staff after suffering a shoulder injury in the second Test - the Lions captain will most likely earn his first start at No.8 in the whites of the Springboks.

Lions lock Franco Mostert, who made his debut last weekend, will therefore in all likelihood again take his place on the bench.

Furthermore, replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi is another player waiting to take the field for the Springboks for the first time after sitting on the wood for 160 minutes while watching skipper Adriaan Strauss call the shots for the national team.

There will, however, be no debuts for the likes of Stormers scrumhalf Nick Groom, Sharks flyhalf Garth April and Cape hooker Scarra Ntubeni as the trio were sent back to their respective franchises by the Bok coaching team yesterday.

These changes to the bench, especially, will leave the Springboks thin in experience if they need to turn it around on the day and might force Coetzee to rethink his starting XV.

Morne Steyn is currently the only player left on the bench for double figures for Test caps.

It’s experience up front which is the main concern though with the Boks expected to name an extra cover for both the loosehead and tighthead positions as they gear up for the Test.

It will make complete sense if Coetzee decides to rope in Sharks front rower Coenie Oosthuizen, who’s been there and done it before.