Double late blow for Boks
Jaco Taute (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok centre Frans Steyn has been ruled out of the side's Rugby Championship clash against Australia at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Lions utility back Jaco Taute has been promoted to the starting XV where he will slot in at outside centre, with captain Jean de Villiers moving to the inside.
Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen was also a late withdrawal and will be replaced by Pat Cilliers on the bench.
Taute's place on the bench will be filled by Western Province centre Juan de Jongh.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers said on Friday he relished the prospect of playing next to two of South Africa's rising stars in flyhalf Johan Goosen and the 21-year-old Taute.
"If it happens that I'm stuck in the middle of those two, hopefully they can bring the best out of me," De Villiers said.
"It is a great prospect to be able to play with those two youthful players and one I am looking forward to.
"Hopefully we can get the best out of each other and hopefully I can rub off on them and give them some calmness."
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer this week surprised with his selection of the 20-year-old Goosen at the expense of regular starter Morne Steyn.
Francois Steyn was unable to train with the team throughout the week after he injured his ankle in training on Monday.
De Villiers said while Goosen brought the exuberance of youth to the team, the youngster's inclusion would not see the team veer off their game plan.
"Johan brings a lot of youth, he brings a lot of enthusiasm to the game, but for us as a team nothing changes from a game plan point of view and the way we approach the game," he said.
"If there is an opportunity to take the ball wide and take the ball into space, and if there is opportunity to run the ball we will do that.
"That has always been the case with this team since the start of the year.
"I am really excited about Johan playing and he is very excited about it."
The Springboks will be hoping to break the recent stranglehold the Australians have over them, with five consecutive victories.
The South Africans, however, have an ally in Loftus Versfeld against the tourists.
The two teams have met at Loftus in five test matches since 1933 with the Boks winning all five encounters.
While the odds favoured the Boks, De Villiers said the Australians would hope to break their losing record at the stadium.
"When you play abroad, you are sort of driven by the fact that you want to break those records and get victories where you didn't get victories in the past, and they'll be out to do the same," De Villiers said. He said the Springbok backline owed the forwards a good performance on Saturday after the last two matches against New Zealand and Australia.
"We believe that the forwards selected in the previous two games really stood up and probably from a backline point of view we need to catch up with them," he said.
The Springbok starting XV boasts a combined total of 415 test caps, with 261 of those belonging to the backs and 154 to the forwards.
"Where they are the less experienced, we've got more caps in the backs," De Villiers said.
"The forwards probably got us close to a result in those two games.
"So we can make a step-up, and hopefully it can be a 22-man effort on Saturday, and doing it for 80 minutes."
HAVE YOUR SAY:
Do these late changes swing the favourites' tag the way of the Wallabies? Or do you still see the Boks winning? Send your thoughts to Sport24
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Jaco Taute/Juan de Jongh, 22 Patrick Lambie
15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Dominic Shipperley, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Anthony Fainga'a