Springboks make four changes for France Test

The Springbok starting XV to face France in Toulouse on Friday shows four changes from the run-on XV that did duty in the Boks’ final Tri-Nations encounter against the All Blacks in Hamilton in September.

Zane Kirchner, who made his debut in the third and final Test against the British and Irish Lions in July, returns at fullback in place of Frans Steyn, who is currently playing in France, while at wing, JP Pietersen, who was injured in the first away match of the Tri-Nations in Perth, returns in place of Odwa Ndungane.

Centre Adi Jacobs and No 8 Ryan Kankowski, who were on the bench in Hamilton, have been promoted to the starting line-up in the place of Jean de Villiers (overseas) and Pierre Spies (injured) respectively.

Danie Rossouw and Ruan Pienaar are the only survivors from the bench in Hamilton, with five changes being made. Lock Andries Bekker, who was also injured in the Perth Test, makes a return, as does centre Wynand Olivier, who last warmed the bench for the All Black Test in Bloemfontein in July.

Adriaan Strauss, who has played five Tests to date, replaces Chiliboy Ralepelle at hooker and CJ van der Linde takes the place of Jannie du Plessis at tighthead.
Loosehead Wian du Preez, who was called up along with Strauss and Van der Linde this week, is also amongst the reserves.

Du Preez is the only uncapped player in the 22. Van der Linde, a veteran of 56 Tests, last played for the Boks in August 2008 whilst Strauss’s last appearance was in July 2008.

“The core of the match did duty during the Tri-Nations campaign and will provide us with stability going into this tough opening Test,” said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

“There are a lot of experienced players in the starting 15 as well as on the bench which will be important to our continuity. It will also ensure that we maintain our structures and play the way we want to.

“I have full confidence in the new players who will be starting on Friday, they have shown their qualities before and we have to make sure we get the best out of them.

“The three newcomers are all good players in their own right. CJ is very experienced while both Adriaan and Wian have been part of the squad previously,” De Villiers said.—Sapa

Springbok team:
Zane Kirchner, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Adi Jacobs, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Ryan Kankowski, Schalk Burger, Heinrich Brüssow, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez, CJ van der Linde, Andries Bekker, Danie Rossouw, Ruan Pienaar, Wynand Olivier.

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