Experienced props Tendai Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen, as well as centre Damian de Allende, all return to the South Africa team to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm).
Tendai Mtawarira, the team’s most-experienced player with 95 caps, comes back into the starting line-up at loosehead prop, while Steven Kitshoff, who made his first start against New Zealand last month in Cape Town, will move back to the bench.
“Modern day rugby is about using 23 players effectively, and having Kitshoff coming off the bench with 30 minutes to play has worked well for us this season,” said South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee.
Coenie Oosthuizen has recovered from an arm fracture sustained against the Wallabies in Perth in September, and he takes over the tighthead position from Ruan Dreyer, who started in the Springboks’ previous three outings.
There is only one change in the back-line, with Damian de Allende earning a first start of the season. He replaces Jan Serfontein who played in all nine previous ‘Bok matches of the year. Serfontein has moved to French club Montpellier and has asked not to be considered for the November tour.
The rest of the starting line-up is unchanged from the team that lost by one point to New Zealand last month, with Pieter-Steph du Toit retaining the number 7 jersey after a strong performance against the All Blacks.
Kitshoff will be joined on the bench by loose forward Uzair Cassiem – in place of the injured Jean-Luc du Preez – after missing the Cape Town match with a rib injury. De Allende’s place on the bench goes to Francois Venter.
Coetzee said the Springboks will have to adapt to a different challenge against an experienced Irish team this weekend, acknowledging: “They beat us here in 2014 and with an experienced coaching team and world class players, they are rightfully considered as the favourites and are one of few teams in the last five years that managed to beat the All Blacks.
“The Irish have a world class half-back pair and their set piece play is extremely good, so it will be a great battle on Saturday. They know how to keep the ball and use a good kicking game to put teams under pressure.”
Regarding the changes in personnel, he added: “Continuity is important and we have kept changes to a minimum, with Jean-Luc injured and Jan not available. I am really excited to see Damian getting an opportunity on Saturday. He has worked very hard and looked good in training.”
SOUTH AFRICA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2017 GUINNESS Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 11, kick-off 5.30pm):
15. Andries Coetzee (Emirates Lions) 9
14. Dillyn Leyds (DHL Stormers) 5
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls) 24
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers) 27
11. Courtnall Skosan (Emirates Lions) 9
10. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions/NTT Shining Arcs) 20
9. Ross Cronje (Emirates Lions) 6
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks) 95
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions) 10
3. Coenie Oosthuizen (Cell C Sharks) 29
4. Eden Etzebeth (DHL Stormers) (capt) 63
5. Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls) 32
6. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers) 25
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers) 29
8. Francois Louw (Bath) 54
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) 11
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) 19
18. Wilco Louw (DHL Stormers) 1
19. Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions/Ricoh Black Rams) 15
20. Uzair Cassiem (Toyota Cheetahs) 6
21. Rudy Paige (Vodacom Bulls) 11
22. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls) 22
23. Francois Venter (Toyota Free State Cheetahs) 3