Centre Damian de Allende has retained his place in the starting lineup despite an injury scare, but there are eight other personnel changes to the Springboks team for Saturday’s Test against England in London.
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 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 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 (flanker), Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf) and Conan Moodie 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.”
Fit De Allende Springbok team to face England at Twickenham:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 82 caps, 65 pts (13t)
14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 6 caps, 30 pts (6t)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 58 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 69 caps, 45 pts (9t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 35 caps, 110 pts (22t)
10 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 26 caps, 30 pts (2t, 4c, 4p)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 45 caps, 30 pts (5t, 1c, 1p)
8 – Evan Roos (DHL Stormers) – 2 caps, 0 pts
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 62 caps, 15 pts (3t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 74 caps, 45 pts (9t)
5 – Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 10 caps, 0 pts
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 109 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 57 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks) – 55 caps, 60 pts (12t)
1 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 18 caps, 0 pts
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 58 caps, 70 pts (14t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 70 caps, 10 pts (2t)
18 – Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks) – 14 caps, 0 pts
19 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 9 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 30 caps, 20 pts (4t)
21 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) – 11 caps, 12 pts (2t, 1c)
22 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 2 cap, 10 pts (5c)
23 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 3 caps, 5 pts (1t)
Springbok record against England:
Played 44; Won 26; Lost 16; Drawn 2; Points for: 945, Points against: 756; Tries scored 86, Tries conceded 57; Highest score 58-10; Biggest win 48 points. Win % 59%.
- Siya Kolisi is the second most capped Springbok captain having led the side in 44 Test matches.
- Eben Etzebeth is the second most capped Springbok lock with 109 Tests.
- The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 708.
- There are 322 caps in the backline, with 387 caps among the forwards. On the bench there are a further 197 caps.
- The average caps per player in the backline are 46, the forwards 48, while the players on the bench average 24.
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