The Springbok team to face Scotland in Nelspruit on Saturday shows five changes, three of them on the bench, from the match-23 which beat Italy in the opening round of the Castle Lager Incoming Series last weekend.
The two new players in the starting line-up are scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, who comes in for the injured Jano Vermaak, and loose forward Marcell Coetzee, who replaces Francois Louw.
On the bench, there is a return to Test rugby for Bismarck du Plessis, 10 months after he picked up a serious knee ligament injury against Argentina in Cape Town last year.
Du Plessis, who has come through numerous training sessions with the Springboks and The Sharks as well as three club matches in Durban, will be joined on the bench by the uncapped duo of Siya Kolisi (loose forward) and Piet van Zyl (scrumhalf).
“It’s great to have Bismarck back in the mix, but I’m even more excited about the inclusion of Piet and Siya on the bench,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“This time last year, Piet and Siya, along with Arno Botha, were part of the group of six young guns who trained with us and now all three are in the Test match squad. I’m very happy with the progress they’ve shown in the last 12 months.”
Kolisi, Botha and abrasive lock Eben Etzebeth played together for the South African Under-20 team in 2011.
Apart from the experienced Pienaar’s inclusion at scrumhalf, the backline is unchanged from the one that scored four of the five tries against Italy last week. Coetzee’s inclusion at flank is the only change to the forward pack.
“To have this kind of continuity is good as we prepare for a Test where the focus is on ourselves, and how we want to improve on certain areas from last week where we felt we let ourselves down,” said Meyer.
“We respect Scotland, but we’ve set ourselves some benchmarks which we would like to achieve during this series. Saturday’s Test provides another opportunity to reach these aims.”
The Springbok team to face Scotland in Nelspruit (with province and caps) is:
15. Willie le Roux (GWK Griquas, 1)
14. Bryan Habana (DHL Western Province, 84)
13. JJ Engelbrecht (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 2)
12. Jean de Villiers (captain, DHL Western Province, 85)
11. Bjorn Basson (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 7)
10. Morné Steyn (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 43)
9. Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N-Ireland, 64)
8. Pierre Spies (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 51)
7. Arno Botha (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 1)
6. Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks, 13)
5. Juandré Kruger (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 9)
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Western Province, 12)
3. Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks, 43)
2. Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain, Toyota FS Cheetahs, 22)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks, 42)
16. Bismarck du Plessis (The Sharks, 46)
17. Trevor Nyakane (Toyota FS Cheetahs, 1)
18. Coenie Oosthuizen (Toyota FS Cheetahs,3)
19. Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 24)
20. Siya Kolisi (DHL Western Province, 0)
21. Piet van Zyl (Toyota FS Cheetahs, 0)
22. Pat Lambie (The Sharks, 21)
23. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 1)