The Springboks on Tuesday recalled the experienced trio of Lood de Jager, Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn as they look to bounce back from consecutive defeats to Australia when they face New Zealand this weekend.
The world champions must win with a bonus point in Townsville on Saturday to keep their slender Rugby Championship hopes alive, trailing the All Blacks by 10 points with two games to play.
They have a huge task ahead, with New Zealand — who this week overtook South Africa to become the new world number one — on a nine-Test win streak while South Africa are coming off demoralising back-to-back losses against the Wallabies.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is banking on experience in what will be the 100th Test between the two nations, with lock De Jager returning after missing last weekend’s 30-17 defeat with concussion.
He will reunite with Eben Etzebeth in the second row, while Kwagga Smith has been promoted to blindside flanker as Franco Mostert drops to the bench in what Nienaber said was a rotational switch to manage his workload.
Steyn will be cover off the bench at centre and fullback in his 70th Test while Jantjies got the nod as replacement flyhalf.
“It’s always a massive task to face the All Blacks,” said Nienaber, whose team need to improve their discipline and accuracy, making too many mistakes at crucial times against Australia.
“They have skilful players who thrive on turnover ball and who know how to capitalise on point-scoring opportunities, so we know we need to deliver a quality 80-minute performance against them to turn the corner after two disappointing defeats.
“Experience will be vital to ensure that we remain focused and calm throughout the match, and players such as Elton and Frans will bring that when they take the field,” he added.
“Lood also boasts 51 Test caps, which will be valuable in this match.”
South Africa (15-1): Willie le Roux; Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Siya Kolisi (capt); Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Marco van Staden, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Frans Styen
© Agence France-Presse