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Rugby World Cup

Springboks Hooker Marx out of tournament as Irish name strong side for Tonga

Published on September 15, 2023
Chris
Written by Chris

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Springboks Hooker Marx out of tournament as Irish name strong side for Tonga
  • South Africa’s Marx out of World Cup after training injury
  • Defending champions down to one specialist hooker
  • Pool B rivals Ireland name strong team for Tonga clash

In a significant setback for South Africa’s World Cup campaign, star hooker Malcolm Marx will miss the remainder of the tournament due to a knee injury sustained during a training session. The 29-year-old, renowned as one of the world’s premier players in his position with 64 caps to his name, suffered the injury during a contact drill.

Expressing his disappointment, coach Jacques Nienaber lamented, “We are extremely disappointed for Malcolm, It’s tragic that his campaign has ended this way.”The defending champions, who secured an 18-3 victory against Scotland in their opening group match, now find themselves with only one specialist hooker, Bongi Mbonambi, in their squad.

Adaptable Fourie to provide extra cover at hooker

To address this shortage, the versatile Deon Fourie, who also operates in the back row, will assume the role of replacement hooker on the bench for the upcoming match against Romania in Bordeaux. Additionally, back rower Marco van Staden has been training in the hooker position and offers another option.

Nienaber stated, “We’ll assess our needs for the rest of the tournament and confirm who we are calling up as an additional player later this week.” He also emphasised the squad’s current cover at hooker, with Bongi and Deon Fourie in the lineup, while noting Marco van Staden’s inclusion as a hooker option on recent team sheets.

The loss of Marx underscores the importance of squad depth and the adaptability of players in different positions. The coaching staff will now need to plan carefully and make adjustments to compensate for the absence of such a pivotal player. The decision regarding the addition of another player will be a critical one in determining South Africa’s approach for the remainder of the tournament.

Four changes for Ireland as strong side named for Tonga test

Johnny Sexton stays in the Ireland team for Saturday’s World Cup Pool B game against Tonga, which sees four personnel changes from the big win over Romania.

Fly-half Sexton, 38, made his return to action last weekend after nearly six months out.

Wing Mack Hansen and scrum-half Conor Murray take over from Keith Earls and Jamison Gibson-Park in the backs.

Hooker Ronan Kelleher replaces Rob Herring with Josh van der Flier’s recall meaning Joe McCarthy drops out.

Dave Kilcoyne and Robbie Henshaw are named on the bench after not being deemed fit to be in the squad for the Romania game but hooker Dan Sheehan again misses out even though he is understood to be nearing a return to full fitness following his foot injury.

Craig Casey is in line for his World Cup debut after being included in the replacements.

The world’s top-ranked Irish are seeking to extend their record winning streak to 15 matches prior to the anticipated pivotal Pool B contests with South Africa and Scotland.

Ireland: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Murray; Porter, Kelleher, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Kilcoyne, Bealham, Henderson, Baird, Casey, Byrne, Henshaw

Betting Implications

So impressive have South Africa’s performances been in the build up to the tournament and in their opening Pool B match against Scotland, that BoyleSports have, at the time of writing, got them as joint favourites with the hosts France. The Springboks and the French are currently priced at 3-1 with Ireland and New Zealand at 4-1.

However, bettors should monitor the impact of Marx’s injury. South Africa have strength in depth, but a feature of their play is how they rotate their pack. Only having one fit hooker is not ideal.

Ireland have named a strong side for the Tonga game, clearly keen to get another convincing victory ahead of the tougher tests against South Africa and Scotland. Bettors should take this into account when betting on the Tonga game, especially those who are looking to have a punt on the margin of victory.

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Chris

Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives.

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