Boks make six changes for Scotland clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Springbok team for Saturday’s third Test of the year-end tour against Scotland in Edinburgh shows six changes.
It includes two personnel changes and two positional switches in the starting lineup, in what promises to be another very tough encounter for the South Africans.
Duane Vermeulen moves back to No.8 in place of the injured Warren Whiteley, while Pieter-Steph du Toit will pack down at blindside flank again, moving from lock, where he started against England and France.
Up front, Rudolf Snyman will start in the second row for the fourth time in his short international career, due to a decision not to rush Eben Etzebeth back from the injury he sustained against England, and Du Toit’s shift from lock to loose forward.
The only other change to the starting team is at scrumhalf, where Embrose Papier will earn his first starting cap for the Springboks.
With Francois de Klerk released back to his club in England, Ivan van Zyl comes into the match-23 as replacement scrumhalf, while Lodewyk de Jager will provide lock cover on the bench.
Whiteley is struggling with a calf strain and because he also won’t be ready for next week’s last tour match in Cardiff in Wales, it was decided to withdraw him from the rest of the tour.
The Scots have built a formidable home record over the past two seasons under coach Gregor Townsend.
Since the start of 2017, they have lost only one of their nine Tests at Murrayfield, which was last year against New Zealand.
During this time, they’ve also beaten Ireland, England, Wales, France and Australia at home.
While the Springboks want to continue with their recent progress, Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has no doubt his side will have to show improvement against the well-organised Scots.
“Scotland is a well-coached side, they are difficult to break down and they will present us with a very tough challenge at Murrayfield,” said Erasmus.
“The matches in the Northern Hemisphere are all closely fought encounters, with the set-piece battle key, and it’s important to grab the big moments and finish your opportunities.”
Speaking on the selections for Saturday, Erasmus said: “Unfortunately Eben is still not fully fit and this which gives Rudolf Snyman another great opportunity to start against one of the top rugby sides.
“Moving Duane and Pieter-Steph around in the pack isn’t disrupting at all, as both of them are very experienced and have played for us in these positions earlier in the season.
Meanwhile, flyhalf Handré Pollard will become the second most-capped Springbok No.10 when he makes his 38th Test appearance on Saturday, surpassing 2007 World Cup winner Butch James’ landmark 37 caps in that position.
The most-capped Springbok flyhalf is Morné Steyn, with 64 Tests at No.10.
South Africa and Scotland have played each other 16 times at Murrayfield, with the Springboks winning 12 of those Tests for a win percentage of 75 percent.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Rudolf Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe.
Date: Saturday, November 17
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 17.20 (17.20 GMT; 19.20 SA time)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)