June Internationals: South Africa A v French Barbarians Preview

2017-June-Incoming-Series-Preview-SA 'A'-v-French-Barbarians

Johan Ackermann’s SA ‘A’ Side take on the French Barbarians at the Moses Mabhida Stadium this Friday.

A top-notch SA 'A' side will welcome the French Barbarians to the Moses Mabhida this Friday, in the first international rugby game ever to be played at the Durban Stadium. With a plethora of Springboks in Ackermann’s matchday squad, this SA ‘A’ side should give the ground the perfect rugby christening.

South Africa A v French Barbarians | Friday 16 June | Moses Mabhida | 16:45

To Win (80 Mins)
South Africa 2/11 | Draw 25/1 | French Barbarians 15/4
South Africa (-11.5) 9/10 | French Barbarians (+11.5) 9/10

South Africa A
They may have the letter ‘A’ affixed to the team name but this is a bloody good crop of South African Rugby players. Not only will Johan Ackermann field a matchday 23 featuring seven Springboks but he will also have some of the most impressive Super Rugby young guns among said 23. I actually feel kind of sorry for the Lions mentor, who’s probably had a few sleepless nights running over possible starting combinations.

While I really like the look of Ackermann’s squad for the opener against the French Barbarians, I do have a slight issue with it. Namely, the absence of Ox Nche from the starting XV. Yes, Thomas du Toit has been mightily impressive for the Sharks but Nche has been knocking on the Springbok door for the past two years and at least deserves a start for the second stringers. That’s my only bugbear, however, and I’m more than happy with the rest of the starting XV, especially the loose trio which will see Sikhubuhzo Notshe link up with Ruan Ackermann and Uzair Cassim. And while it’s not your traditional trio, there’s a very powerful look about it.

The back three is full of pace and power with Ruan Combrink, Lwazi Mvovo and Makazole Mapimpi set all getting starts. And while I do feel slightly sorry for SP Marais – the Stormers fullback has been in sensational touch – Mvovo needs a go against international opposition in order to establish if he can still cut the mustard at this level.

The midfield also looks decent enough, although I would have loved to have seen Lionel Mapoe and Harold Vorster link up at international level. The former has been called up to the Springbok squad due to the concussion sustained by Jesse Kriel in Pretoria last Saturday, leaving veteran Juan de Jongh to partner Vorster in the centres.

French Barbarians
Much like the South Africans, the French also have a nice blend of youth and experience among their matchday 23, which will be led by veteran pivot Fredric Michalik. Freddie is no stranger to Durban having spent two seasons with the Sharks. His time with the Natalians coincided with Lwazi Mvovo bursting onto the scene, so he’ll know all too well how big a threat the Sharks flyer poses at the back.

Other notable inclusions in the French squad for Friday’s game include Clermont Potrenaud -who is currently plying his trade in Durban with the Sharks - and Jonathon Danty. The former is heading into the winter of his career but he’ll provide a solid option off the bench, while the latter, who will partner Jean Baptiste Dubie in the centres, could become a mainstay in the French squad in the next few years.

The Stats That Matter

The SA 'A' side has a total of 75 internationals caps spread between the squad while has 77 himself.

South Africa A lost both of their games last year going down to the English Saxons 29-26 in George and then 32-24 in Bloemfontein.

Verdict: South Africa ‘A’ (-11.5) 9/10
The weather forecast for Durban looks brilliant and I reckon both sides will take full advantage of this and look to run the ball as much as possible. It should be a rather entertaining game, even more so for South African fans as I’m pretty darn sure these SA ‘A’ boys are going to take it by more than ten points.

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Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net!

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