Peter de Villiers has named a Bok side to take on England showing only two changes to the unit that went down to Scotland last weekend. Resisting the urge to give in-form players a go, the coach is sticking to his guns, claiming that he wants to stick with the “tried and tested”.
So, to summarise, that means that the “tried and tested” Deon Stegmann will enjoy another opportunity to demonstrate just how out of his depth he is in the test arena, as he enjoys a fourth successive start. Not bad for a guy who played hardly any Currie Cup and was not selected in the original tour group. Pierre Spies is back in at number 8 for Ryan Kanowski, with many pundits rating the hairy Sharks man as one of the few players to emerge from the Murrayfield debacle with any credit. There is still no room for Willem Alberts in the starting team, nor for Keegan Daniel in the match 22.
The other change to the run-on team comes at scrumhalf, where Ruan Pienaar comes in for Francois Hougaard in a completely meaningless change. Both players failed to accomplish anything of note last week and seemed to be having a personal competition to see who could kick away good ball most often. The tried and tested Morne Steyn is preferred again at flyhalf to Pat Lambie, meaning the Boks will again try and test the same (failed) kick-chase gameplan that has brought them such stunning success all season long.
The only glimmer of hope is that Lwazi Mvovo has retained his position on the left wing – I’m not naive enough to think that the reason for that is anything other than that they couldn’t find a Bulls player in the tour group to replace him with. None of Charl McLeod, Odwa Ndunange or Bandise Maku has been brought into the match 22, of course.
Bok 22 v England:
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Francois Steyn, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (capt), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Adrian Jacobs