Bath Rugby flanker Francois Louw has retained his place in the starting line-up for South Africa, who take on Australia in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test in Brisbane on Saturday.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes in total, tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse earning his first start for the Springboks in place of Vincent Koch, with four changes in the back division. Francois Hougaard comes into the side as replacement for Ruan Combrinck, and he will play on the left wing, meaning the experienced Bryan Habana moves over to the right.
The new centre combination of Juan de Jongh and Jesse Kriel gets a run in the place of Damian de Allende and Lionel Mapoe, who has been included on the replacements bench. De Jongh and Kriel both featured as replacements for South Africa in the first two Tests against Argentina, in Nelspruit and Salta.
Towering lock Eben Etzebeth will become the 32nd Springbok to reach 50th Test matches, at the age of 24 years, nine months and 12 days, surpassing the record previously held by Pat Lambie (25y, 14d). Meanwhile, the big No 4 will also play in his 27th consecutive match for the Springboks.
In another noticeable milestone, loose head prop Tendai Mtawarira is set to play in his 81st Test match thereby becoming the most capped prop in Springbok history, surpassing the record previously held by Os du Randt.
Coetzee said he is excited to see what impact the new players in the team can make in what will be a big challenge on Saturday.
“Looking at the impact that Juan and Jesse made when they came off the bench in Nelspruit and Salta, then I think now is the right time to give them a starting opportunity,” said.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to play together as a centre combination and both have Test match experience. Juan’s ability to organise at 12 and his calmness in that role will help to guide Elton in his flyhalf duties.
“Francois covers two positions for us, on the wing and scrumhalf and apart from that he has other good attributes. He is very competitive and his defensive work is solid because he contests very hard on the ground and his a good finisher.
“The Wallabies are known for their ability to hold onto the ball for long phases, so we are preparing ourselves to make a lot of tackles and to be organised on defence,” said Coetzee, who added that he is expecting the players on the bench to yet again make a strong impact.
“Our bench has made a real impact in each match we’ve played this season. After looking at the Australia versus New Zealand matches, we realise the physical intensity of the forward exchanges, and that’s why we feel that a fresh tight five can sustain the physical intensity.”
Springbok team to face Australia
15 Johan Goosen
14 Bryan Habana
13 Jesse Kriel
12 Juan de Jongh
11 Francois Hougaard
10 Elton Jantjies
9 Faf de Klerk
8 Warren Whiteley
7 Oupa Mohoje
6 Francois Louw
5 Lood de Jager
4 Eben Etzebeth
3 Lourens Adriaanse
2 Adriaan Strauss (captain)
1 Tendai Mtawarira
16 Bongi Mbonambi
17 Steven Kitshoff
18 Trevor Nyakane
19 Franco Mostert
20 Pieter-Steph du Toit
21 Jaco Kriel
22 Morné Steyn
23 Lionel Mapoe