Cape Town - The Springboks have made several changes for the important opening Test
of their year end tour against England at Twickenham in
London on Saturday.
Only five players who started in the 31-31 draw against the Barbarians
last week at Wembley were again included in a much changed line-up for
the Test against the English. They are Beast Mtawarira (prop),
Pieter-Steph du Toit (flank), Rudy Paige (scrumhalf), Pat Lambie
(flyhalf) and Francois Venter (outside centre).
Venter will make his Test debut on Saturday following his good showing
last week at Wembley and his centre partner is Damian de Allende, who
will win his 21st cap for the Springboks.
The injury to Roelof Smit and a host of other flanks, as well as the
unavailability of other experienced loose forwards, meant Springbok
coach Allister Coetzee was forced into revamping his loose trio. The Bok
coach decided to move Du Toit from second row to the side of the scrum,
a position he is familiar with, as he will bring much-needed ball
carrying ability and more lineout options.
The experienced Willem Alberts will start on the other side of the
scrum, while Warren Whiteley retains the No 8 jersey he wore throughout
the Rugby Championship.
Du Toit’s positional switch means a return to the starting team for Lood
de Jager, who sat out the Barbarians fixture because of a one match
In the front row, hooker Adriaan Strauss returns to action and he takes
over the captaincy from Patrick Lambie who led the side at Wembley.
Vincent Koch will play at tighthead prop and Lourens Adriaanse moves to
The halfback combination of Paige and Lambie are kept unchanged. Wing JP
Pietersen returns to the side and will wear the No 11 jersey, the
position he usually plays for his club side, the Leicester Tigers.
Bryan Habana has showed significant improvement this week, however he is
not yet 100% ready and it was decided not to risk him with two more
Tests to come on the tour.
Ruan Combrinck will do duty on the right wing, and Willie le Roux at
fullback, which means a return to the back three that played in the
three Test series against Ireland in June.
Coetzee said the number of injuries, and to players in specific
positions, gave him the opportunity to test certain new combinations.
“We are going to use this tour also to test various combinations and
rotate players to ensure we move in the right direction,” said Coetzee.
“The challenge this week will definitely start up front as the English
pack paved the way for their series win over the Wallabies in Australia.
It will be a physical challenge and the set-piece battle could prove to
be the decisive.
“I believe we have selected the best available team for this Saturday.
We have a long list of injured loose forwards, with all of Roelof Smit,
Marcell Coetzee, Francois Louw, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi and Sikumbuzo
Notshe injured, while a couple are also unavailable for selection,”
Coetzee said a daunting task awaits his side on Saturday at Twickenham:
“England have a lot of belief at the moment – they have won their last
nine matches since the appointment of Eddie Jones as coach.
“They are always formidable at Twickenham and matches involving our two
countries have always delivered close fought encounters. They are an
extremely well-coached side with no apparent weaknesses and their away
series win in Australia proved why they are currently second in the
“They are definite favourites, but we are looking forward to another huge battle against them,” said Coetzee.
Captain Strauss will lead the Springboks for the 10th consecutive Test
match, while lock Eben Etzebeth will play in his 31st consecutive Test
for the Springboks.
15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Mako Vunipola
Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te'o, 23 Jonathan Joseph
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19, Franco Mostert, 20, Nizaam Carr, 21, Faf de Klerk, 22, Johan Goosen, 23 Lionel Mapoe