Outside centre Francois Venter will make his Test debut against England at Twickenham on Saturday, while Willem Alberts has been named to start at openside flank.
Venter produced a solid performance for the Boks against the Barbarians last Saturday, and will now make his first Test appearance after Allister Coetzee opted to start the Cheetahs captain ahead of Lionel Mapoe in the No 13 jersey.
The 25-year-old will form a new midfield combination with Damian de Allende, who has been preferred to Rohan Janse van Rensburg at inside centre despite the latter’s impressive form against the Baa-Baas.
Interestingly, the injury to Roelof Smit has forced a loose forward improvisation that sees Alberts deployed at openside flank, while regular lock Pieter-Steph du Toit will provide extra physicality at No 7, with Oupa Mohoje dropping out of the match 23. Warren Whiteley will again slot in at eighthman.
In the backline, Rudy Paige and Pat Lambie remain at 9 and 10, while Ruan Combrinck and JP Pietersen slot onto the wings, with Wille le Roux returning at fullback. Bryan Habana has been battling with an injury niggle this week and will not be ‘risked’ for this encounter.
Up front, Beast Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss and Vincent Koch will pack down in a tight five that sees Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager set to combine for the 12th time as a lock pairing.
Coetzee said that the absence of several players due to injury gave him the opportunity to test certain new combinations.
‘We are going to use this tour also to test various combinations and rotate players to ensure we move in the right direction. The challenge this week will definitely start up front as the English pack paved the way for their series win over the Wallabies in Australia. It will be a physical challenge and the set-piece battle could prove to be the decisive.
‘I believe we have selected the best available team for this Saturday. We have a long list of injured loose forwards, with all of Roelof Smit, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Louw, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi and Sikumbuzo Notshe injured, while a couple are also unavailable for selection.’
Strauss will lead the Springboks for the 10th consecutive Test match, while lock Eben Etzebeth will play in his 31st successive match for the national side.
Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lionel Mapoe.
Photo: Joel Ford/Getty Images
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