Steyn replaces injured Pienaar in Bok team

South Africa have made one enforced change for the second Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand on Saturday, with flyhalf Morne Steyn replacing the injured Ruan Pienaar.

An ankle injury forced Pienaar to retire at halftime last Saturday and replacement Steyn kicked the victory-clinching late penalty in a 28-19 triumph in Bloemfontein.

There was no guarantee a fit Pienaar would have made the starting line-up for the reigning world champions after his goal-kicking failures in the first Springbok outing of the southern hemisphere championship season.

Pienaar is considered a stronger all-rounder than Steyn, but succeeded with just one of five kicks at goal, prompting sections of the crowd to call for his substitution.

Steyn stepped out of the shadow of former Bulls flyhalf Derick Hougaard this season to finish as leading Super 14 points scorer, and was rewarded with a call-up to the Bok squad.

He came on for Pienaar in the second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Pretoria and landed a long-range penalty with the last kick of the game to give the Boks victory and an unassailable lead in the series.

It will be a special Test for tighthead prop and captain John Smit, wing Bryan Habana and centre Jean de Villiers as they reach landmarks in their international careers.

Smit will lead the Springboks for the 60th time, surpassing the captaincy world record he shared with two former stars, Australia scrumhalf George Gregan and England centre Will Carling.

Former World Rugby Player of the Year Habana and De Villiers will reach the 50-cap mark when they run out at Absa Stadium to face the fiercest foes of the Springboks.

There are two changes among the replacements, with fit-again centre Adrian Jacobs replacing Steyn while lock Andries Bekker comes in for number eight Ryan Kankowski, the only substitute not used last weekend.—AFP

Team: Frans Steyn; JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Heinrich Brussow; Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha; John Smit (captain), Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Jannie du Plessis, Andries Bekker, Danie Rossouw, Ricky Januarie, Adrian Jacobs, Wynand Olivier.


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