The Bok side to take on New Zealand on Saturday morning (SA time) in the opening Tri-Nations encounter has been named.
Enforcer Bakkies Botha, an injury doubt earlier in the week, has been cleared to start alongside his regular partner Victor Matfield, while namesake BJ will have to play off the bench. Jannie du Plessis has been handed the starting tighthead jersey for this game, in a strong front row containing provincial teammate John Smit as hooker (and captain) and the Bulls’ Gurthro Steenkamp at loosehead.
Ricky Januarie again keeps Ruan Pienaar on the bench, while there’s a somewhat surprising inclusion of Wynand Olivier at inside centre, with regular 12 Jean de Villiers picked on the right wing. Zane Kirchner is back at fullback, with the unlucky Gio Aplon dropping to the bench, alongside Butch James and Pienaar. The remainder of the backline selects itself (flyhalf Morne Steyn, outside centre Jaque Fourie and left wing Bryan Habana) as does the loose trio of Schalk Burger, Francois Louw and Pierre Spies.
South Africa – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Jean de Villiers, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (capt), 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 BJ Botha, 18 Andries Bekker, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Butch James, 22 Gio Aplon.