Du Toit gets blindside role with revamped Boks

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 13:03

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Springboks have made several changes for the important opening Test of the year-end tour.

South African face England at Twickenham in London on Saturday.

Only five players who started in the 31-all 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 Tendai 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 the 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 line-out 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 Lodewyk de Jager, who sat out the Barbarians fixture because of a one-match suspension.

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 bench.

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 shown significant improvement this week. However, he is not yet 100 percent 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.

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.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Francois de Klerk , 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lionel Mapoe.

Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT; 16.30 SA Time)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)