Springboks shuffle the pack
Wed, 14 Aug 2013 10:47
Du Preez back on the bench
The Springbok side for Saturday's Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at Soccer City in Soweto shows four changes from the team which beat Samoa in June.
Two of the changes are in the starting XV, both of them in the forwards, and two on the bench for this Test - which forms part of the Nelson Mandela Sport & Culture Day activities.
Duane Vermeulen is back in action after an injury lay-off and takes over from the injured Pierre Spies at No.8.
At lock Juandré Kruger and Flip van der Merwe swap places, with the latter moving to the bench and the former starting next to Eben Etzebeth in the second row.
On the bench, there is a return for the experienced duo of Fourie du Preez and Gurthrö Steenkamp.
"Continuity has been key for us this year and that is why we've opted not to make too many changes to the team for Saturday's Test against Argentina," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
"It's great to have Duane back at No.8, while Juandré has been doing great work in the line-outs all season long.
"To have someone of the calibre of Flip on the bench, next to the experience Fourie and Gurthrö bring to the team, is a great situation to be in."
Looking ahead to the Test, Meyer said: "It's a marvellous occasion and special to be part of a unique day where we can all celebrate the contributions former president Mandela made to South Africa.
"I think it was clear last year that the Argentineans are not in the Rugby Championship to make up the numbers, which means we will have to be focused on doing the little things right.
"They've been together for a few weeks now and will be a tough opponent on Saturday.
"We've now done the hard work on the training pitch and I can see the players are keen to get back onto the field for a Test.
"Now we need to put into practice what we've been working on and continue where we left off against Samoa, looking for try-scoring opportunities in the process."
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.
Date: Saturday, August 17
Venue: Soccer City, Soweto
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT; 12.00 noon Argentina time)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzère (France), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)
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