Auckland - Scrumhalf Ross Cronje has been withdrawn from the Springbok team to face the All Blacks on Saturday in Albany because of illness and is replaced by Francois Hougaard, who was initially named on the bench.
Rudy Paige is now the replacement scrumhalf for the important Rugby Championship match on Saturday at the QBE Stadium in Albany.
The Springboks have won five and drawn one Test so far this season, however, Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth said his side faces its biggest challenge this weekend against the world champions.
“Despite our results so far this season, we know we will have to step up our game,” explained Etzebeth.
“A local rugby fan came up to me and said he thought the All Blacks versus Springbok games are probably the biggest in world rugby and I agree with him. Our matches are always massive, we know they’re our biggest competition and hopefully they feel the same about us.”
Meanwhile, Etzebeth added that he has embraced the captaincy since he took over the leadership from the injured Warren Whiteley.
“As a leader, I am even more competitive because your ambition for success is bigger,” explained the towering 25-year old lock who makes his 61st Test appearance on Saturday.
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire; 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames
Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende