Boks change three for All Black showdown
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has made three significant changes ahead of their Rugby Championship encounter with the All Black in Pretoria on Saturday.
Damian de Allende, Francois Louw and Steven Kitshoff are back in the starting line-up.
Willie le Roux will play in his 50th Test for South Africa.
De Allende has shrugged off the shoulder injury that forced him to miss last weekend’s win over the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth and takes over the No.12 jersey from Andre Esterhuizen.
Louw is back in the frame, having returned from his English club Bath and he will start at No.8, while Sikhumbuzo Notshe will play off the bench.
Kitshoff is part of the starting front row in a straight swap with the experienced Tendai Mtawarira, who will provide impact off the bench.
Vincent Koch is also set to play an impact role after he was named amongst the replacement forwards – in place of Wilco Louw.
The rest of the team that defeated Australia last weekend in Port Elizabeth was kept unchanged.
“Damian has trained very well and took full contact this week, so he is ready,” Erasmus said.
“Notshe played well against the Wallabies last weekend and will offer us something different when he goes on, but Flo [Louw] has a lot of experience and is good on the ground.”
Erasmus said he is looking forward to seeing Koch get another run in the Springbok jersey.
“Vincent has learnt a lot from playing in Northern Hemisphere conditions and I am sure he is very keen to pull on that Green and Gold jersey again.
“He has a burning desire to play for the Springboks and I am delighted for him as we continue to build our squad depth.”
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 4, 2018
Erasmus congratulated Le Roux for reaching the special milestone of 50 Test caps.
“Willie has grown immensely since making his debut five years ago and his calm influence at the back, as well as his experience, will be vital on Saturday. He deserves this accolade.”
The coach added that while his team has some momentum going into the big game, they will be looking to improve in all areas against a quality All Blacks team.
“They will test us in every department,” said Erasmus.
“The All Blacks usually hit hard back after a loss so we have to be mentally and physically ready for a massive contest.
“We will have to front up in defence and be clinical when we creating chances because the All Blacks punish you for errors and missed opportunities.
“The Springboks versus All Blacks at a packed Loftus, I think it’s going to be a special occasion.”
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse.
Date: Saturday, October 6
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT; 04.05 NZ time Sunday, October 7)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)
Your #Springboks team to face @AllBlacks at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria Saturday has been named. @Doogz @FloLouw and @StevenKitshoff are back in the starting line-up, while @wjjleroux will play in his 50th Test for South Africa. #LoveRugby @MTNza @FNBSA @CastleLagerSA @ASICS_ZA pic.twitter.com/hMYnNoJphA
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) October 4, 2018