Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer named an unchanged starting line-up on Wednesday for their final Test of the season, against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
He retained the team that defeated Scotland, 21-10, last weekend with JP Pietersen and Gurthrö Steenkamp, cleared for selection after treatment of niggling injuries.
The only changes are on the bench, where Pat Cilliers comes in for the injured CJ van der Linde and Elton Jantjies replaces Morné Steyn.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will become the fifth most-capped Springbok of all time and most-capped member of the 2012 squad when he plays in his 84th Test.
De Villiers will pass Bryan Habana on 83 caps to move into fifth place behind John Smit (111), Victor Matfield (110), Percy Montgomery (102) and Joost van der Westhuizen (89).
“I’m very chuffed for Jean,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“He took over the captaincy in a challenging year and has been a rock in our team. The fact that Jean has played in every Test this season, and finished all of them, is testimony to his amazing resilience and work ethic.
“Jean has been the glue that has kept our team together and for that I salute him.”
The total number of Test caps in the starting team for the last Test of the Castle Outgoing Tour in 2012 is 431 – 158 in the forwards and 273 in the backline.
“It’s great to be able to field an unchanged team,” said Meyer.
“We’ve been able to show some consistency in selection on this tour and that is a good thing. The players have worked extremely hard on the training field and it wasn’t easy to select the match 23 for each of the three Tests, but I’m happy that we managed to stick to combinations.”
“The plan was always to give Elton a run on the tour. He’s shown earlier in the season that he can play Test rugby. It’s also good for his development as a player to experience the conditions here and to play in front of a big crowd like Twickenham,” said Meyer.
The Springbok team to face England in London is:
|15||Zane Kirchner||Vodacom Blue Bulls||23|
|14||JP Pietersen||The Sharks||47|
|13||Juan de Jongh||DHL Western Province||13|
|12||Jean de Villiers (captain)||DHL Western Province||83|
|11||Francois Hougaard||Vodacom Blue Bulls||26|
|10||Pat Lambie||The Sharks||19|
|9||Ruan Pienaar||Ulster, Northern Ireland||62|
|8||Duane Vermeulen||DHL Western Province||6|
|7||Willem Alberts||The Sharks||19|
|6||Francois Louw||Bath, England||16|
|5||Juandré Kruger||Vodacom Blue Bulls||7|
|4||Eben Etzebeth||DHL Western Province||10|
|3||Jannie du Plessis||The Sharks||41|
|2||Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain)||Toyota FS Cheetahs||20|
|1||Gurthrö Steenkamp||Toulouse, France||39|
|16||Schalk Brits||Saracens, England||4|
|17||Heinke van der Merwe||Leinster, Ireland||3|
|18||Pat Cilliers||DHL Western Province||5|
|19||Flip van der Merwe||Vodacom Blue Bulls||22|
|20||Marcell Coetzee||The Sharks||11|
|21||Elton Jantjies||MTN Golden Lions||2|
|22||Jaco Taute||MTN Golden Lions||3|
|23||Lwazi Mvovo||The Sharks||7|
Stats and facts:
- South Africa and England have played each other 35 times since 1906, with the Springboks winning 21 Tests, losing 12 and with two draws. The Springboks have scored 733 points and 68 tries and conceded 549 points and 39 tries for an average score of 21-16.
- South Africa and England last met on 23 June 2012 in Port Elizabeth. That match was drawn 14-14.
- Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 68 Tests in this position.
- Gurthrö Steenkamp has scored the most Test tries as a Springbok prop – six.
- Ruan Pienaar jointly holds the record for the most career conversions at Twickenham with Percy Montgomery – three.
- Pat Lambie and Willem Alberts will earn their 20th Springbok caps and Gurthrö Steenkamp will play in his 40th Test for South Africa.
- JP Pietersen needs two tries against England to equal the Springbok record of six career tries against England, held by Bryan Habana.
- Ruan Pienaar needs six points to equal the Springbok record of 26 career points at Twickenham, held by Braam van Straaten.
- Jean de Villiers, Francois Hougaard and Jannie du Plessis will end the season having started in all 12 Tests in 2012.
- Adriaan Straus and Ruan Pienaar will have played in all 12 Tests with four and five appearances from the bench respectively.
- Flip van der Merwe and Marcell Coetzee could also complete a full-house of 12 Tests for the season should they be used as substitutes on Saturday.
- The referee is Nigel Owens of Wales. He’s referee in eight Tests involving South Africa before, of which the Springboks have won five and lost three.
- Springbok Test match records at Twickenham:
o Most points – 21 by Jannie de Beer (6p, d) against Australia on 30 October, 1999 (and 20 by André Pretorius (c, 2p, 4d) against England on 25 November, 2006)
o Most tries – two by Chester Williams against England on 18 November, 1995
o Most conversions – three by Ruan Pienaar against England on 22 November, 2008
o Most penalty goals – six by Jannie de Beer against Australia on 30 October, 1999 (and four by Braam van Straaten against England on 2 December, 2000)
o Most drop goals – four by André Pretorius against England on 25 November, 2006