Roos gets his Bok start
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made eight changes and one positional switch to his matchday squad to face England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Nienaber’s made six changes to his starting team with Jesse Kriel (centre), Makazole Mapimpi (wing), Evan Roos (No.8) and Eben Etzebeth (lock) back in the mix, while Damian de Allende moves from outside centre to inside centre where he partners up with Kriel, and Kurt-Lee Arendse will start at right wing after playing on the left in Genoa.
There were also four changes on the replacements bench, which will again feature the more traditional split of five forwards and three backs, with SA ‘A’ captain Thomas du Toit (prop), Marco van Staden (flank), Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf) and Canan Moodie being drafted in.
This follows the unavailability of Cheslin Kolbe (wing), Andre Esterhuizen (centre), Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf), Jasper Wiese (No.8) and Vincent Koch (prop), who all returned to their clubs.
“With this Test falling outside the international Test window, we knew we would have to make changes to the team, but we are pleased with the depth we have built in the wider squad in the last few months, and it is paying off for us this week,” said Nienaber.
“Every player in this squad has played Test rugby, and most of them have received game time at this level thanks our selection plan throughout the season and the SA ‘A’ games against Munster and Bristol.
“We are very excited to see what this group of players will do against a quality England side given the mix of talented young players who have been putting up their hands and the experienced guys who have come a long way with us over the last few years.”
Nienaber added: “As with all competitions we can only select a limited number of players, so we have had to be creative with balancing building player combinations and giving the young players a chance to show us what they can do at top Test level and this game gives us a golden opportunity to do so.
“It doesn’t get bigger than playing against England at a packed Twickenham in the last Test of the season for a player, and one can sense the excitement among the players about this occasion.”
Nienaber expected a massive onslaught from England, who snatched a 25-25 draw against New Zealand last week after being edged by Argentina and then registering a convincing victory against Japan.
“England will enter this match with the same mindset as us – to finish the season on a high note after a tough November campaign, and to build momentum with an eye on the World Cup,” said Nienaber.
“So, we are expecting them to throw everything they have at us. They are a well-balanced team with a strong pack of forwards and exciting backs, and they are well-coached, so we know it is going to be an epic encounter.
“We lost against them by one point in our last two matches at Twickenham and the last time we beat them in London was in 2014, so we have to be accurate in all areas of our game, effective in our execution and we need to covert our chances into points.
“This is the last time the squad will be together in competition until next June, so the players really want to make the most of this opportunity and to make the country proud.
“We had two narrow defeats against the top two teams in the world in Ireland and France and we defeated Italy, and it would be fantastic if we could finish the tour on a high note.”
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Canan Moodie.
Date: Saturday, November 26
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 17.30 (17.30 GMT; 19.30 SA Time)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland) & Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)