Three changes to Bok pack
Cape Town - Springbok captain Jean
de Villiers will be given until Friday to prove that he has fully recovered
from a sternum injury, which has kept him off the training field so far this
The Springboks face
Samoa in the final match of the Incoming Series at Loftus Versfeld
in Pretoria on Saturday. The team shows three changes – all of them in the pack
– from the side which beat Scotland by 30-17 in Nelspruit last weekend.
The backline will
be unchanged from last weekend, should De Villiers’ pass his fitness test.
If De Villiers
can’t play, Jan Serfontein will start at inside centre, with Juan de Jongh
coming onto the bench. Adriaan Strauss will then lead the Springboks to become
South Africa’s 55th Test captain and Bryan Habana will take over the
“Jean is an
integral member of our squad and we will give him all the time he needs to get
back to full fitness,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Luckily we have a
strong group of leaders in the squad and if Jean doesn’t make it, Adriaan will
take over the captaincy, with support provided by Francois Louw, Pierre Spies,
Bryan Habana and Bismarck du Plessis.”
injured Arno Botha is replaced at flank by Willem Alberts, who has been
struggling with a side strain.
Alberts, who has
been training with the team this week, will have to pass a fitness test on
Friday to prove that he has recovered fully from his injury. If he is not
passed fit to play Samoa, Siya Kolisi will start in his place and Marcell
Coetzee will be included on the bench.
returns on the other flank after missing last weekend’s match because of his
wedding. The third and final change to the starting line-up is at lock, where
Flip van der Merwe comes in for Juandré Kruger.
always going to be back this week and Willem has been our first-choice ball
carrier, so it’s been good to have them back on the training field,” said
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Because Willem is
returning from an injury, we decided to start with him. Siya played very well
last weekend and it is great to have someone of his versatility on the bench.
We saw last week how valuable it is to have replacement players who can make a
real impact late in the match.
“I’m happy that
we’ve been able to keep some form of continuity during these Tests, especially
in the backline, where a number of exciting new players have come in and put up
their hands during Vodacom Super Rugby and in the last two weeks.”
Meyer said the
match against Samoa will be a proper test for his squad.
“They have a strong
squad and have benefited from having their best players compete in Vodacom
Super Rugby and at the top club level in Europe, but our focus is on putting in
an improved performance from last week,” said Meyer.
15. Willie le Roux, 14. Bryan Habana, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain) / Jan Serfontein, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ruan Pienaar, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Willem Alberts / Siya Kolisi, 6. Francois Louw, 5. Flip van der Merwe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Bismarck du Plessis, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Juandre Kruger, 20. Siya Kolisi / Marcell Coetzee, 21. Piet van Zyl, 22. Pat Lambie, 23. Jan Serfontein / Juan de Jongh