Cape Town - The Springbok starting team to face Italy in Padova on Saturday shows four changes from the side which beat England at Twickenham last week, with three new faces amongst the pack and one in the backline.
There are also five changes on the bench, with Nizaam Carr and Julian Redelinghuys included in a Test match-23 for the first time.
Trevor Nyakane will start his first Test for South Africa at loosehead prop, while Coenie Oosthuizen moves up from the bench to replace the injured Jannie du Plessis at tighthead. Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje returns to the starting line-up while Johan Goosen has been selected at fullback.
Joining Carr and Redelinghuys on the bench, are Gurthrö Steenkamp, Lood de Jager and Willie le Roux. Tendai Mtawarira has been given a break after carrying a heavy workload recently.
“I’m excited to see what these guys can do on Saturday in what will be a stern Test against a fired-up Italy,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“We planned to make a few shifts for this Test as I’d like to see if these players can make the step up. The guys coming in deserve their opportunities and seeing that we won’t have our overseas-based players available next week against Wales, it made sense to bring a few of them in this week.”
Meyer said he was impressed by the commitment shown by all the uncapped players at training on the tour and that Carr and Redelinghuys are ready for selection.
“Nizaam can cover all the positions in the back-row and his call-up is just-reward after a very good season for the DHL Stormers and Western Province,” said the Springbok coach.
“Julian has been superb for the Lions this season and he’s shown that he can scrum. Both of them are now familiar with our plays and structures and I’m looking forward to see what they can bring on Saturday.
“It will also be a good test for Johan, who I’ve always regarded as a possibility at fullback. He has a great skill-set and a massive boot which will come in handy on Saturday if we have to play in wet weather again.”
Meyer said the Test against Italy will pose different challenges to what the Springboks had faced thus far on the tour.
“They are a passionate nation with a very experienced coach in Jacques Brunel and a world-class captain in Sergio Parisse,” said Meyer.
“The Italian pack is always formidable and their backs are not scared of taking chances. Our focus is to show improvements from our performance at Twickenham and we know it will be a big challenge on Saturday.”Teams:
15 Johan Goosen, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux