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Springboks Select Unchanged Team

Springboks Select Unchanged Team

South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer has named the same starting line-up that beat New Zealand a month ago to face Ireland in the opening Test of their European tour at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm).

The only change to the Springboks’ matchday squad is in the front row reserves where injured prop Marcel van der Merwe is replaced by Coenie Oosthuizen.

“Although Julian Redelinghuys was also considered, he’s still new in the team and not familiar with our patterns of play and especially the lineout calls, while Coenie knows the way we play well,” said Heyneke Meyer.

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“Coenie is also in great shape and we know what he can do, especially if he has to make an impact off the bench. It’s good to have him back.”

Captain Jean de Villiers, the ex-Munster centre, and Toulon flyer Bryan Habana are the experienced hands in the back-line with 205 Test caps between them.

Highly-regarded 20-year-old Handré Pollard continues at out-half alongside his Blue Bulls team-mate Francois Hougaard, with Cheetahs duo Willie le Roux and Cornal Hendricks also playing against Ireland for the first time.

Full-back le Roux, Hendricks and forwards Duane Vermeulen, Jannie du Plessis and Bismarck du Plessis have played in all nine Tests for the Springboks so far in 2014.

The du Plessis brothers are joined by Tendai Mtawarira in a solid all-Sharks front row, while 37-year-old Victor Matfield – the oldest Springbok ever – will extend his caps record to 117 Tests in a second row pairing with Eben Etzebeth.

Number 8 Vermeulen, who also started against Ireland in November 2012, links up with Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje and Marcell Coetzee in the back row.

Meyer was very happy with the continuity in selection from the last Test, adding: “It’s only the fifth time in what will be the 34th Test since I was appointed as Springbok coach that we’ve been able to select an unchanged starting line-up.

“In this day and age, not making changes to teams is pretty much unheard of, but this is a great position we’re in. However, we need to make it count against a very tough Irish side on Saturday.

“Although we won our last Test, the challenge this week is to make another step up. It’s imperative that we improve in all facets of our play.”

SOUTH AFRICA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2014 GUINNESS Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 8, kick-off 5.30pm):


15. Willie le Roux (FS Cheetahs) 21
14. Cornal Hendricks (FS Cheetahs) 9
13. Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls) 16
12. Jean de Villiers (Western Province) 102 (capt)
11. Bryan Habana (Toulon) 103
10. Handré Pollard (Blue Bulls) 6
9. Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls) 32
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks) 61
2. Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks) 66
3. Jannie du Plessis (Sharks) 60
4. Eben Etzebeth (Western Province) 29
5. Victor Matfield (Blue Bulls) 117
6. Marcell Coetzee (Sharks) 22
7. Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje (FS Cheetahs) 3
8. Duane Vermeulen (Western Province) 25


16. Adriaan Strauss (FS Cheetahs) 40
17. Trevor Nyakane (FS Cheetahs) 9
18. Coenie Oosthuizen (FS Cheetahs) 17
19. Bakkies Botha (Toulon) 83
20. Schalk Burger (Suntory) 73
21. Cobus Reinach (Sharks) 2
22. Pat Lambie (Sharks) 36
23. JP Pietersen (Panasonic) 56