Brisbane – Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Wednesday announced a Springbok line-up showing three changes and two positional switches from the team that played in Mendoza for their third Rugby Championship Test of 2013, against Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.
Up front, Bismarck du Plessis takes over at hooker and vice-captain from Adriaan Strauss, while Flip van der Merwe will pack down at lock for Juandré Kruger. Strauss and Kruger move to the substitutes bench.
At the back, Willie le Roux shifts from fullback to right wing in the place of Bjorn Basson, with Bryan Habana moving over to the left. Zane Kirchner, who is back to full fitness following a hand injury earlier in the season, will start his first Test of the year at fullback.
“A few of these changes are purely rotational in order to give guys with fresh legs a go, while others are simply a case of horses for courses,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“We’re fortunate to be in a position to rotate players of the calibre of Bismarck and Adriaan, while we felt this was the right opportunity to give Flip and Zane a go in the starting team.
“In the end, the most important factor still remains consistency in selection. In our squad, any player can slot in at any stage, and that is a good position to be in.”
Meyer reiterated the massive challenge of playing Australia at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday evening and said that the Springboks are looking forward to testing themselves against one of the best sides in the world.
“If we are going to progress as a team, we need to start winning away from home and Saturday’s Test provides this challenge,” said Meyer.
“It’s no use looking at history now – we have to focus on the Test, ensure we tick the right boxes and improve in the areas where we let ourselves down in Mendoza.”
Kick-off is at 12:05 (SA time) on Saturday.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 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 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein