The Springbok team that will face New Zealand in the fourth Test in The Castle Rugby Championship in Dunedin on Saturday shows two changes from the side that played Australia last weekend.
Both changes are in the forwards, where lock Flip van der Merwe replaces the suspended Eben Etzebeth while Francois Louw comes in for Marcell Coetzee at flank.
There are four more changes on the bench, where Coetzee joins Dean Greyling, Andries Bekker and Juan de Jongh amongst the replacements.
“The New Zealanders are good on the ground which is why we decided to go for a specialist openside flank in Francois,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Marcell has been very good this season and has played a lot of rugby, but in this match we feel he will be more useful as an impact option.”
Jannie du Plessis has been named at tighthead prop despite struggling with a hamstring niggle. Meyer said the Springboks’ medical team is working very hard on the injured players and that Du Plessis will be given until Friday to fully shake off his injury, but if he fails to recover in time, Pat Cilliers will start in the No 3-shirt.
“We will not take any chances with injured players and we have time to get him and Pat (Cilliers) match ready,” said Meyer.
Greyling will be on the bench to provide prop cover, while Bekker takes over from Van der Merwe in the No 18 shirt. De Jongh comes in for Lwazi Mvovo on the bench.
The Springboks’ starting XV have a combined total of 482 Test caps – 136 in the forwards and 346 in the backline.
The Springbok team to face New Zealand in Dunedin is (Test caps in brackets):
15 Zane Kirchner, Vodacom Blue Bulls (18)
14 Bryan Habana, DHL Western Province (80)
13 Jean de Villiers (captain), DHL Western Province (78)
12 Frans Steyn, The Sharks (52)
11 Francois Hougaard, Vodacom Blue Bulls (21)
10 Morné Steyn, Vodacom Blue Bulls (40)
9 Ruan Pienaar, Ulster, N-Ireland (57)
8 Duane Vermeulen, DHL Western Province (1)
7 Willem Alberts, The Sharks (14)
6 Francois Louw, Bath, England (11)
5 Juandré Kruger, Vodacom Blue Bulls (4)
4 Flip van der Merwe, Vodacom Blue Bulls (17)
3 Jannie du Plessis, The Sharks (36)
2 Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain), Toyota FS Cheetahs (15)
1 Tendai Mtawarira, The Sharks (38)
16 Tiaan Liebenberg, DHL Western Province (2)
17 Dean Greyling, Vodacom Blue Bulls (2)
18 Andries Bekker, DHL Western Province (26)
19 Marcell Coetzee, The Sharks (6)
20 Johan Goosen, Toyota FS Cheetahs (1)
21 Juan de Jongh, DHL Western Province (10)
22 Pat Lambie, The Sharks (14)
Stats and facts:
• Saturday’s Test will be the 84th between South Africa and New Zealand.
• The Springboks and New Zealand last met in the 2011 Castle Tri-Nations in Port Elizabeth, which was won by South Africa 18-5.
• The Springboks have played eight Test matches against New Zealand in Dunedin, winning only once – at Carisbrook in 2008 (30-28). This will be the first Test for the Springboks at the newly-built Forsyth Barr Stadium.
• With 39 Tests, Morné Steyn is the most capped Springbok flyhalf. He also holds the record for the most career tries in Tests as a flyhalf (7 tries) and is the Springbok record holder for most career points in this tournament (229 points).
• Steyn’s 56 penalty goals are the most by a Springbok in this tournament and he shares the overall record for most career drop goals in the tournament with André Pretorius (4). He needs 17 points to reach 500 career Test points for the Springboks.
• Steyn has scored 109 Test points for the Springboks against New Zealand – the most by any South African. He also holds the record for the most career penalty goals by a Springbok against New Zealand – 28.
• Bryan Habana, who will play in his 30th Test in this competition, is the most-capped Springbok wing (79 Tests) and the South African record holder for the most Test tries, which he extended last weekend against Australia to 42. Bryan needs one try to become South Africa’s top try scorer in the tournament.
• The referee is George Clancy from Ireland, who has refereed in five Tests involving South Africa. The Springboks have won four of those Tests and lost one.
• Springbok Test match records in Dunedin against New Zealand:
o Most points: 12 by Percy Montgomery (3c, 2p) in 2005.
o Most tries: 1 by eight players on nine occasions. Ricky January scored a try on two occasions, his last in the 75th minute of the match in 2008 which enabled the Boks to win their first test in 87 years at Carisbrook.
o Most conversions: 3 by Percy Montgomery in 2005.
o Most penalty goals: 3 by each of André Joubert in 1994 and Percy Montgomery in 2008.
o Most drop goals: 1 by Butch James in 2008.