Julian Redelinghuys will earn his first start for the Springboks against Argentina in Nelspruit on Saturday, while Bryan Habana, Johan Goosen, Oupa Mohoje and Lood de Jager all return to the side for the first Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test at the Mbombela Stadium.
Redelinghuys, capped four times, comes in at tighthead as replacement for the injured Frans Malherbe, who is struggling with a neck injury. Lock De Jager has recovered from the calf injury he sustained against Ireland in June and takes over the No 5 jersey from Pieter-Steph du Toit, who will provide cover from the bench.
The third change in the pack sees the return to the starting line-up of Mohoje as replacement for Siya Kolisi, who recently underwent ankle surgery.In the back division, Springbok record try scorer Bryan Habana will run out in his 118th Test after he was named as left wing, while he was also confirmed as the Springbok vice-captain.
The versatile Goosen, who is equally at home at flyhalf and centre, has been entrusted with the fullback duties, the same position where he played in his previous outing for the Boks, in 2014 against Italy.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said the experienced Habana still has a lot to offer and brings a wealth of experience to an otherwise young backline.
“Bryan still has a huge desire to play for the Springboks and he brings added leadership amongst our young backs,” said Coetzee.
“Goosen has played consistently well for his French club and apart from his versatility, he gives us an extra option with his right-footed kicking abilities.”
Regarding the changes in the forwards, Coetzee said: “Julian has played very well for the Emirates Lions this season and now gets a deserved starting chance after making an impact from the bench in the previous Tests.
“Oupa has shrugged off his niggling injuries, delivered a string of consistently good performances for the Toyota Cheetahs and he is a good option at the back of the line-out and always plays well for the Springboks. We also have the option of Jaco Kriel who can make an impact from the bench.
“Lood is paired with Eben now that he is fully fit again while we are fortunate that Pieter-Steph can also play flank when the need arises, apart from his lock duties.”
The Bok coach said he expects a big impact from the bench and added that it was important for the South Africans to make a good start at Mbombela Stadium, but he cautioned that the Pumas will be a very difficult opponent.
“Argentina are one of the leading rugby nations if you consider that they have reached the semi-finals of two Rugby World Cups,” said Coetzee.
“They are renowned for their strong scrummaging and mauling, very good defensively and have developed an attacking style of play which will test our defence.”
The Springbok team to face Argentina in Nelspruit:
|Position||Name||Franchise / Province/Club||Test Caps||Test points|
|15||Johan Goosen||Racing 92 (France)||6||8|
|14||Ruan Combrinck||Emirates Lions||2||8|
|13||Lionel Mapoe||Emirates Lions||4||0|
|12||Damian De Allende||DHL Stormers||16||10|
|11||Bryan Habana||Toulon (France)||117||320|
|10||Elton Jantjies||Emirates Lions||5||36|
|9||Faf de Klerk||Emirates Lions||3||0|
|8||Warren Whiteley||Emirates Lions||6||5|
|7||Oupa Mohoje||Toyota Cheetahs||8||0|
|6||Francois Louw||Bath (England)||46||40|
|5||Lood de Jager||Toyota Cheetahs||20||20|
|4||Eben Etzebeth||DHL Stormers||47||10|
|3||Julian Redelinghuys||Emirates Lions||5||0|
|2||Adriaan Strauss (captain)||Vodacom Bulls||57||30|
|1||Tendai Mtawarira||Cell C Sharks||78||10|
|16||Bongi Mbonambi||DHL Stormers||1||0|
|17||Steven Kitshoff||Bordeaux (France)||1||0|
|18||Vincent Koch||Steval Pumas / DHL Stormers||2||0|
|19||Pieter-Steph du Toit||DHL Stormers||11||10|
|20||Jaco Kriel||Emirates Lions||1||0|
|21||Rudy Paige||Vodacom Bulls||3||0|
|22||Juan de Jongh||DHL Stormers||14||15|
|23||Jesse Kriel||Vodacom Bulls||12||15|
Stats and facts:
· The total Test caps in the starting line-up is 420, which consist of 153 caps in the backline and 267 among the forwards. The combined Test caps of those on the bench are 45. The average caps per player in the match-23 is 20.
· Adriaan Strauss will be captaining the side for the fourth time in his 58th test.
· The youngest player in the 23 man squad is Jesse Kriel (22y, 5m) while the oldest member of the team is Bryan Habana (33y, 2m).
· The following players will play in their fourth consecutive match in the starting XV under Alister Coetzee: Lionel Mapoe, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Francois Louw, Eben Etzebeth, Adriaan Strauss and Tendai Mtawarira.
· Bryan Habana needs one try to extend his own tournament career record to 20, which will equal 100 tournament career points. One try will also extend his own world record for most Test tries as a wing to 65. He needs three appearances in this tournament to reach 50 tournament appearances.
· Eben Etzebeth will play in his 25th consecutive Test match.
· Francois Louw will play in his 20th Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test.
· Castle Lager Rugby Championship debuts: Ruan Combrinck, Faf de Klerk and Julian Redelinghuys. Also Steven Kitshoff, Jaco Kriel, Bongi Mbonambi and Rudy Paige, should they be used off the bench.
· Adriaan Straus will be the 13th Springbok captain in the competition.
Head to head:
· South Africa and Argentina played their first Test in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship four years ago, almost to the day, on 18 August, 2012. Saturday’s Test will be the eighth Rugby Championship match between the two countries. Of the previous seven, South Africa won five with one match drawn and a loss in Durban last year, the first ever loss against Argentina since their first Test in 1993.
· The Springboks’ record is as follows: Played 7, Won 5, Lost 1, Drawn 1, Points for 209, Points against 126, Tries for 21, Tries against 11, Average score 30-18.
· The match officials for this match are: Referee – Glen Jackson (New Zealand); Assistant referees – Jérôme Garcès (France) and Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) with the TMO George Ayoub (Australia).
· It will be Jackson’s fourth appearance as referee in Test matches involving South Africa. The Springboks were victorious in all three previous Tests where the New Zealander refereed.
· Mbombela Stadium’s seating capacity is 40 929.
· The Springbok record at the stadium is: Played 2, Won 2, Points for 61, Points against 47, Tries for 7, Tries against 5, Average score 31-24.
· The Springbok record holders for a match at the stadium are:
o Most conversions: 4 by Morné Steyn against Wales in 2014
o Most penalty goals: 2 by Morné Steyn against Scotland in 2013.
o Most tries: In the previous two Tests, three penalty tries were awarded to South Africa (one against Scotland and two against Wales). The remaining four tries were scored by JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Cornal Hendricks and Willie le Roux.