ZANE Kirchner will make his Springbok debut as fullback in the third Test against the British and Irish Lions at Coca-Cola Park tomorrow.
The 25-year-old Bulls fullback is an unexpected addition to the Bok line-up that will try to make history by becoming the first South African team in the two sidesâ€™ 118 history to win all three tests in a series. The Springboks have won three series â€” in 1903, 1962 and 1968 â€” but never all the Tests.
Kirchner joined the team on Monday at Bok coach Peter de Villiersâ€™s request. Although it was initially said that Kirchner was invited to gain experience, De Villiers yesterday surprised many by announcing the name of the fullback as a member of the Bok 22-member squad.
Kirchnerâ€™s brilliant form in the Super 14 and his performance for the Emerging Boks against the Lions at Newlands convinced De Villiers to give the Bulls star a chance. Kirchner has played in 15 of the Bullsâ€™ Super 14 matches and impressed with his excellent tactical kicking and his ability to win back his own high kicks.
He is also not afraid to attack and scored four tries. His defence is rock solid.
â€œZane will play,â€ said De Villiers when he was asked about the presence of Kirchner at training. The curly-haired fullback will be a popular choice with the public because South African rugby supporters have been asking for his inclusion.
Kirchner is one of 10 changes that the Boks are making. As Sport24 reported on Monday, MornÃ© Steyn could play flyhalf, Wynand Olivier and Jaque Fourie could be centres and Jongi Nokwe and Odwa Ndungane could form the back three with Kirchner. â€” Sport24.