Springbok scrumhalf Cobus Reinach scores during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game against Canada at Kobe Misaki Stadium on 8 October 2019 in Kobe
While there were few surprises in the Springbok team to take on the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, one man who could consider himself unlucky is scrumhalf Cobus Reinach.
The 31-year-old has been in superb form with Montpellier in France and, more recently, has used his opportunities in the Springbok set-up to put his hand up for national selection.
Reinach was impressive both on 2 July against Georgia in Johannesburg and then this past weekend as South Africa ‘A’ went down to the Bulls in Cape Town.
But it is Reinach’s now seasoned European experience combined with his consistent club form that made him an attractive option, for many fans and critics, with the Lions series in mind.
Instead, Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has opted for continuity in selection and Herschel Jantjies keeps his place on the replacements bench, as was the case at Rugby World Cup 2019.
Faf de Klerk, meanwhile, holds onto the No 9 jersey.
Speaking after naming his side on Tuesday, Nienaber acknowledged that Reinach had been unfortunate to miss out, but he also pointed to the quality the Springboks boast in the position.
“Cobus was phenomenal for us in the games that he played and I think we are very fortunate in South Africa to have three quality scrumhalves like we have currently,” he said.
“He could start in Saturday’s Test and there wouldn’t be an eyebrow raised. That’s the quality of Cobus and it’s the same for the other two players.
“Unfortunately for Cobus, we went with this pairing, but they will also know that they need to perform.
“It’s probably consistency in election and building on that, but he is banging on the door very hard and kicking his way through.
“I think that’s nice for us in the squad that we have is that there is massive pressure coming from all over.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 18:00.
15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse