One source that we haven’t featured for quite a while is keo.co.za, where Mark Keohane and his rugby writing team cover all sorts of rugby-related things both local and international. This week, they’re pontificating over why it makes sense for the Boks to start with Mbongeni "Bongi" Mbonambi rather than Malcolm Marx.
Even the staunch Marx fans in this newsroom could find nothing in that piece with which to take issue. The bottom line is that it’s very hard to choose between him and Mbonambi these days, which is a great place for the coach to be.
That Rassie has opted to start Bongi against Italy later today is a vote of confidence and one which has received Mark Keohane’s thumbs up:
“I think Malcolm Marx, when on top of his game, is without comparison among world hookers. However, there can be no disputing Mbongeni Mbonambi’s red-hot form of the past few months.
“Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has rewarded Mbonambi’s powerful display against Namibia with a start against Italy in a match the Boks must win to stay in the competition.
“Erasmus has acknowledged Mbonambi’s power game in giving him a start ahead of Marx. The latter will most definitely add a dimension to the Boks when introduced against tiring legs. Erasmus may just have settled on the best one-two hooker combination for purposes of the result.
“Mbonambi is strong in the set piece and carries well. He brings solidity as a scrumming hooker. Marx, with his turnover ability and athleticism, gives the Boks a hooker/loose-forward type of presence.”
He then delves into the quality of substitutes is this World Cup and mentions a few key players for the Springboks and their rivals. It is worth the read if you have a few minutes to spare before kick-off today.