While some will debate the decision to name young Fred Zeilinga at flyhalf, in the starting XV to face the Waratahs in Durban on Saturday, it is the selection of Lwazi Mvovo at fullback that sparked the most interest.
The Bok wing, Mvovo, who has seven Test caps for South Africa, was shifted to No.15 and SP Marais dropped to the bench.
White, who said it has been a bit “daunting” the last couple of weeks injury-wise, said he needed to find room for both Ndungane and Mvovo.
White even drew comparisons with Bok legend Percy Montgomery, when justifying his decision to select Mvovo in the unfamiliar role of fullback.
“He’s got things Percy [Montgomery] could do, he’s really quick and he likes broken field play,” White said at a press conference ahead of the game.
“If the Waratahs kick, which they don’t do much, Lwazi is probably the guy that will capitalise most.”
Mvovo, 27, has 57 Super Rugby caps for the Durban-based franchise and White felt his form this season would have made it difficult to drop him after the availability of Ndungane, who returns after compassionate leave.
“Lwazi is probably one of our form backs and now that Odwa’s come back, it’s not a case of finding a place for Lwazi, he just merits himself a place in the team,” White said.
“There’s no reason why he can’t play fullback and I’m quite excited.
“I believe with Gio Aplon going to France, there is no reason why a guy like Lwazi isn’t good enough to play fullback for SA.”
White also spoke of the pace his outside backs possess.
“We’ve got [Sibusiso] Sithole, Odwa [Ndungane], JP [Pietersen] and Lwazi, the four are probably the quickest guys in our franchise.
“I think it’s going to be exciting to see them run.
“Lwazi’s really played well right through the season so far.”
White made four changes in total to his side, another unfamiliar one being the shifting of Willem Alberts to lock instead of the injured Anton Bresler with Jean Deysel coming in at flank.
The flyhalf position, vacated by a six-month injury lay-off to Patrick Lambie, went to Fred Zeilinga, while Charl McLeod would complete a new halfback pairing after Cobus Reinach fractured his hand in the 19-23 loss to the Bulls last week.
“Ideally I’d like Cobus and Pat to be playing, but in the Currie Cup last year Charl played most of the time with Fred,” White said of the No.9 and No.10 positions.
“So it’s a change but they’ve played a lot together and I don’t think it’s a disruption.”
White admitted that Steyn was still the preferred flyhalf option in the absence of Lambie, with Zeilinga well aware of his thinking.
“I’m still considering Frans there, it’s not ideal and wasn’t obviously first prize,” he said.
“I’d like Frans to have stayed there and Fred knows that Frans can slot in there.
“Paul Jordaan comes back next week and can play 12 and 13, so there are lots of exciting things that can still happen.”
Despite the gloom around Kings Park over the latest injury setbacks, there is some good news with the return of former captain Keegan Daniel to the bench.
Heimar Williams also returns, while Stefan Ungerer is in line for his debut after coming in as scrumhalf cover.