Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi is back and ready to fire against Argentina in the Boks’ must-win Rugby Championship clash at Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
Mbonambi has been out of the squad with a knee injury for just over a month, but is back to provide some much-needed bench cover for the brilliant Malcolm Marx this weekend.
“The knee injury happened in Joburg before the second Test against the All Blacks. It was just a freak accident that happened during training and I was really bummed that it happened then,” Mbonambi said this week.
“But I have been through my rehab, I’ve done my return to training, the doc and physio are happy and I am feeling a lot more confident in my knee than I was three weeks ago.
“Malcolm Marx has been really playing well. The competition in this squad is very tight and we do compete very hard for a place in the match 23. It’s never easy coming back from injury and working hard to try and make it back into the squad, so I am just happy to be back.”
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Mbonambi is expecting another massive forward driven battle from the Argentinians and knows that he could be in line to play a very important role along with the bomb squad off the bench.
“The Argentinian scrum we saw last week was very good. They have a very good front row and a good pack,” said Mbonambi.
“Having (Augustin) Creevy back for them is a big boost as he is an experienced player and is massive for them as he knows exactly what to do in the scrums and knows most of the tricks that happen there. So it’s going to be a massive challenge in the front row for both teams.”
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With Bok utility back Frans Steyn set to start his first international game at flyhalf in 14 years, with the last time coming against Italy in 2008, Mbonambi was asked if the forward pack had a plan to make his job easier.
“I think a guy like Frans Steyn doesn’t need our help very much. He’s been around the block longer than any of us, and he knows exactly what’s needed of him, as the forwards know what’s needed of them, to not just make his job easier but the whole team’s job easier,” admitted Mbonambi.
“We all have a specific role to play and if we can get that right everyone will be on target for a good performance.”