Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has resisted the temptation to wield the axe ahead of Saturday’s Tri-Nations return Test against the All Blacks, making just two changes to the starting XV that went down 12-32 in Auckland.?
Both of the changes to the Bok side are enforced; with the injured Jannie du Plessis (calf muscle) and the suspended Bakkies Botha being replaced by CJ van der Linde and Danie Rossouw, respectively.
World Cup winners Van der Linde (tighthead prop) and Rossouw (lock) will both add significant beef up front – despite being without Du Plessis and the disgraced Botha, who arrived back home in South Africa on Monday after being suspended for nine weeks for head-butting Jimmy Cowan at Eden Park at the weekend.
In the other change to the Bok 22 – from the unit which suffered the four-tries-to-nil defeat in Auckland – Sharks No.8 Ryan Kankowski replaces Rossouw, a selection which actually gives the Bok bench some more options; the SA brainstrust having effectively gone with two locks amongst the replacements in the first Test.
De Villiers said he was confident his team could come back from last week.
“The way you lose is not as important as how you stand up from such a defeat,” said the Bok mentor.
“The guys know they didn’t perform well, they remain proud and they realise that they have hard work ahead of them this week,” he added. “The All Blacks were very good at the weekend and they did not allow us space to play the way we wanted.”
South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Jean de Villiers, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wynand Oliver, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 BJ Botha, 18 Andries Bekker, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Butch James, 22 Gio Aplon.
Date: Saturday, July 17
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT; 09.35 SA time)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Alan Lewis (Ireland), Stuart Dickinson (Australia)
Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
Assessor: Bob Francis