Flanker Deon Stegmann will make his Test debut for South Africa in Saturday’s GUINNESS Series clash with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 5.30pm).
Uncapped utility back Patrick Lambie could also make his debut if former Munster centre Jean de Villiers fails a late fitness test. The selected South African bench will also include two uncapped players.
In all, Peter de Villiers’ team shows eight changes – nine if Jean de Villiers is unavailable – to the one which ended the Tri Nations against Australia in September.
The six definite survivors are Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, team captain Victor Matfield and Jannie du Plessis.
A seventh, Francois Hougaard, is listed amongst the replacements, while an eighth in Francois Steyn will only join the squad after the Ireland match.
Deon Stegmann, 24, will don the number 6 jersey in place of the injured Schalk Burger, who suffered a broken rib in last weekend’s Currie Cup final and has been withdrawn from the tour party.
The 20-year-old Lambie, who won the man-of-the-match award in the Currie Cup final after a two-try, 25-point haul on Saturday, is on standby to replace de Villiers at inside centre if he fails to recover from his groin injury.
Lambie’s Sharks team-mates, Willem Alberts or Keegan Daniel and Lwazi Mvovo, could also make their debuts from the bench.
Springboks head coach de Villiers said: “It’s a new-look side but with 13 season-ending injuries, it couldn’t be anything else.
“But we’re looking on the positive side and this is a great opportunity to test some new players in the toughest conditions.
“We also have a number of senior players returning to the team after long lay-offs for one reason or another and they are keen to restake their claim to a starting place.
“We’ve not had much time to bed this new team together but the players have worked hard all week to be as well prepared as we possibly can be.”
Front row duo Tendai Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis will make their first appearances of the season this weekend, while powerful lock Bakkies Botha returns after suspension.
Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar returns to the number 9 jersey which he last wore against Australia last July, while winger Bjorn Basson and centre Zane Kirchner make their first appearances since June.
Commenting on his selection in the backs and forwards, de Villiers added: “Our hand has been forced in our centre selection. Hopefully Jean will recover in time but if not, Patrick Lambie has played at inside centre for the Sharks before he was moved to number 10 and Zane is defensively strong and a strong ball runner.
“Deon is an openside in the traditional style and has been outstanding for his province. He is used to playing with Pierre and we need an out-and-out specialist to counter Ireland at the breakdown.”
SOUTH AFRICA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2010 GUINNESS Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 6, kick-off 5.30pm):
15 – Gio Aplon (Western Province)
14 – Bjorn Basson (Blue Bulls)
13 – Zane Kirchner (Blue Bulls)
12 – Jean de Villiers (Western Province)/Patrick Lambie (Sharks)
11 – Bryan Habana (Western Province)
10 – Morne Steyn (Blue Bulls)
9 – Ruan Pienaar (Ulster)
1 – Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks)
2 – Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks)
3 – Jannie du Plessis (Sharks)
4 – Bakkies Botha (Blue Bulls)
5 – Victor Matfield (Blue Bulls) (capt)
6 – Deon Stegmann (Blue Bulls)
7 – Juan Smith (Cheetahs)
8 – Pierre Spies (Blue Bulls)
16 – Chiliboy Ralepelle (Blue Bulls)
17 – CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs)
18 – Flip van der Merwe (Blue Bulls)
19 – Willem Alberts (Sharks)/Keegan Daniel (Sharks)
20 – Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls)
21 – Adi Jacobs (Sharks)
22 – Patrick Lambie (Sharks)/Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks)
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