South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to his matchday squad – four of them due to injury – as his side look to bounce back when they face Ireland in Saturday’s second Test in Johannesburg (kick-off 5pm local time/4pm Irish time).
The two changes in the starting line-up see Pieter-Steph du Toit and Elton Jantjies replace the injured Lood de Jager and Pat Lambie respectively, while the Emirates Lions duo of Franco Mostert and Ruan Combrinck are on the bench and could make their Test debuts at their home ground. In the final change, Morne Steyn is added to the bench as out-half cover.
Second row Jager sustained a calf injury during last week’s 26-20 loss to Ireland in Cape Town and although he finished the match and was able to participate in training on Monday, subsequent follow-up scans revealed he has suffered a calf strain. He was not considered for selection this week which means a start for du Toit alongside his DHL Stormers colleague Eben Etzebeth.
Jantjies takes over the out-half duties after Lambie was ruled out with concussion and will make his first start for the Boks at his home ground. The vastly experienced Steyn, who has 60 Tests to his name, is included on the bench after joining the squad on Monday.
The inclusion of du Toit in the side means a first appearance on the replacement bench for Mostert, who has so far this season caught the attention with numerous impressive Super Rugby performances at lock for the Emirates Lions.
In the only other change to the matchday panel, Combrinck gets the nod as the utility backline player. The Emirates Lions flyer has been in fine form for the Highveld franchise so far this season in Super Rugby. Mostert, Combrinck and reserve hooker Bongi Mbonambi are the three uncapped players on the bench.
Allister Coetzee described Saturday’s clash on the Highveld as a massive one, and said the squad have worked hard to rectify their mistakes.
“We spoke hard and were very frank in our assessment of last week’s performance,” he said. “The Springboks are capable of executing the fundamentals of the game much better and that’s what we will set out do on Saturday.
“We know Ireland will come with a real desire to clinch the series, however, we must be ready to confront them and put ourselves into a position to succeed. I believe players who played in Cape Town deserve another opportunity and I am looking forward to see what they can do this week.
Regarding the team selection, he added: “We said we will not hit the panic button, and the decision to go with largely the same matchday squad is to give our players the opportunity to redeem themselves.
“Lood experienced some trouble on Monday and scans revealed he suffered a calf strain, so he won’t be in action this weekend. And Elton comes in for Pat, who is out with concussion and he will have his franchise half-back partner Faf de Klerk next to him.
“Morne Steyn still has a lot to offer at international level and his experience from the bench will no doubt prove valuable for us. Pieter-Steph gave a good account of himself last week when he came on for Lood and he now has a chance to make another good impact from the start.
“Ruan has been playing very good rugby and so has Franco. I will look to the bench to maintain the intensity and again bring impact off the bench.”
SOUTH AFRICA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2016 Summer Series Second Test, Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg, Saturday, June 18, kick-off 5pm local time/4pm Irish time):
15. Willie le Roux (Cell C Sharks)
14. JP Pietersen (Cell C Sharks)
13. Lionel Mapoe (Emirates Lions)
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers)
11. Lwazi Mvovo (Cell C Sharks)
10. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions)
9. Faf de Klerk (Emirates Lions)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks)
2. Adriaan Strauss (Vodacom Bulls) (capt)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers)
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers)
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers)
6. Francois Louw (Bath)
7. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers)
8. Duane Vermeulen (Toulon)
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) *
17. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls)
18. Julian Redelinghuys (Emirates Lions)
19. Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions) *
20. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions)
21. Rudy Paige (Vodacom Bulls)
22. Morne Steyn (Stade Francais)
23. Ruan Combrinck (Emirates Lions) *
* Denotes uncapped player at this level