Spies, Pienaar back for Boks
Cape Town - The Springboks restored scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar and eighthman Pierre Spies to the starting line-up when coach Peter de Villiers named the team to take on England at Twickenham on Saturday.
The pair replaces Francois Hougaard and Ryan Kankowski in a team that was otherwise unchanged from the one which lost 21-17 to Scotland in Edinburgh. Hougaard drops to the bench in a straight swap with Pienaar while Kankowski drops out of the squad altogether.
De Villiers said he had dismissed the idea of making wholesale changes. “There is no panic,” he said. “This team has all the ability we need – but what we all know is that we have to execute more accurately than we did against Scotland.
“That game is behind us now but we’ve looked hard at the lessons of it and know that we can’t allow let ourselves to make as many mistakes in our basic execution.”
The Springboks upset many predictions to beat Ireland in the opening match of the tour and followed up with victory over Wales before the four-point defeat to Scotland, who leapfrogged both of their Celtic rivals in the IRB rankings as a result.
The Springboks go into Saturday’s Test having beaten England on six successive occasions but with the home side installed as favourites.
“England have made good progress since they started their tour to Australia this year and will be full of confidence,” said De Villiers. “A full Twickenham will ensure that this is the toughest Test of the tour for us.
“But Saturday’s performance wasn’t a true reflection of the talent in this squad and the players want to put that right and end the Test season on a high.”
South Africa (15-1)
Kirchner; Gio Aplon, Frans Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Lwazi Mvovo; Morne
Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Deon Stegmann, Victor
Matfield (capt), Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis,
Replacements: Adrian Strauss, CJ van der Linde,
Flip van der Merwe, Willem Alberts, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie,