South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has made ten changes to his team for the third Test of the 2009 series against the British & Irish Lions at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg this Saturday.
Peter de Villiers has included only one uncapped player in the starting line-up to face the Lions, with full-back Zane Kirchner of the Super 14-winning Bulls side set to make his debut.
Morne Steyn and Chiliboy Ralepelle will both make their first starts for the Springboks at out-half and hooker respectively, while the other newcomers to the side are Johann Muller, Heinrich Brussow, Ryan Kankowski, Wynand Olivier, Jaque Fourie, Jongi Nokwe and Odwa Ndungane.
Commenting on the team selection, de Villiers said: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to play against the Lions and we respect them so much, that we wanted to give all our players a chance to take them on.
“We believe they are as good as the other guys and that they can go out and do an outstanding job for the Springboks.
“They will also bring fresh energy to the team after two tough Tests and hopefully give us the quick ball to our backs, because we have shown we are capable of scoring tries from first phase.”
Uncapped Sharks lock Steven Sykes has been included on the bench for Saturday’s game.
This follows the unsuccessful appeal on Thursday morning by Springbok lock Bakkies Botha for a two-week suspension for dangerous charging.
Sharks captain Johann Muller has taken Botha’s place for his first Test start since 2007.
Starters for last weekend’s second Test, Bismarck du Plessis, Pierre Spies, Ruan Pienaar and Francois Steyn all drop down to the bench.
The list of replacements also includes Gurthro Steenkamp, who comes back into the matchday 22 after missing the second Test. Deon Carstens retains his place amongst the reserves.
“This is a very strong side. At the end of the Super 14 I wanted to have 28 players who could play for the Springboks at any time and I think we’ve achieved that goal. I’m very happy with this selection,” added de Villiers.
SOUTH AFRICA TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v British & Irish Lions, 2009 Test series, Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg, Saturday, July 4, kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time):
15. Zane Kirchner (Bulls)
14. Odwa Ndungane (Sharks)
13. Jaque Fourie (Lions)
12. Wynand Olivier (Bulls)
11. Jongi Nokwe (Cheetahs)
10. Morne Steyn (Bulls)
9. Fourie du Preez (Bulls)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks)
2. Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls)
3. John Smit (Sharks) (capt)
4. Johann Muller (Sharks)
5. Victor Matfield (Bulls)
6. Heinrich Brussow (Cheetahs)
7. Juan Smith (Cheetahs)
8. Ryan Kankowski (Sharks)
16. Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks)
17. Gurthro Steenkamp (Bulls)
18. Deon Carstens (Sharks)
19. Steven Sykes (Sharks)
20. Pierre Spies (Bulls)
21. Ruan Pienaar (Sharks)
22. Francois Steyn (Sharks)