Beast, Bismarck back

2014-11-27 00:00

THE Springboks have made eight changes to their 23 man line-up to take on Wales in their final Northern Hemisphere clash on Saturday.

Sharks front-rowers Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and ­Bismarck du Plessis have been rotated back into the starting line-up. Mtawarira has recovered from a calf strain last week and replaces Trevor Nyakane at loosehead prop, while Du Plessis shuffles with Adriaan Strauss to start at hooker.

The other changes see Sharks flyer Lwazi Mvovo replace the unavailable Bryan Habana on the left wing, while Cornal Hendricks returns to the starting lineup in the place of JP Pietersen. Willie le Roux comes back in at fullback for Johan Goosen. Habana, Pietersen and Goosen have returned to their overseas clubs as the Test falls outside of the IRB international window.

Western Province centre Damian de Allende makes his way onto the bench in the only other change to the match day team.

Minus the changes to the back three, the Bok backline remains the same, with Shark half-back pairing Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach cracking the nod for their third Test start together.

Tighthead prop Coenie ­Oosthuizen played well enough against Italy to retain his place, even though Jannie du Plessis is still injured. The Free State wrecking ball will want to ­improve his scrumming while aiming for another commanding display in loose play.

The rest of the pack remains the same, although Nizaam Carr was unlucky to not have been given an opportunity to start over Oupa Mohoje after an ­outstanding cameo from the bench against Italy.

Mohoje has been consistent for the Boks and is also another lineout jumper, but Carr’s ­x-factor cannot be doubted in open play. The decision seems to be one of retaining continuity and Bok coach Heyneke Meyer is just happy to have some good depth with such a long injury list this year.

“It’s a great testament to our depth to still put a side out like this. I believe we are a great team and the way we see it, there’s a lot of youngsters that wouldn’t have had a chance to play and these guys have proved ­themselves,” Meyer said.

Looking to the weekend, the coach is expecting the greasy conditions inside Millennium Stadium to factor in. To counter that, he has put his faith in ­Lambie and Reinach to direct the Boks, while Francois ­Hougaard and Handré Pollard remain on the bench.

“Patty was the in-form player at the end of year tour last year and unfortunately got injured. I just felt that I wanted to keep some form of continuity, it’s been difficult these four games and the whole year. Again ­playing in the wet conditions, especially against a great Welsh side, we need some sort of ­experience there especially with JP and Bryan not available. We just felt Patrick is playing some great rugby and we need that continuity,” Meyer said.

Lambie and his fellow backs are sure to face an acid test from a big and powerful Welsh ­backline. “They have a very good forward pack, their defence is up there with the best and they have a very good tactical game. If they get quick ball on the front foot, I truly believe they’ve got one of the best backlines. All of them are big and fast, and if they get quality ball, they are a dangerous side,” Meyer said.

The Boks take on Wales on Saturday. Kickoff is at 4.30 pm.

SPRINGBOK TEAM (15-1)

Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers (captain), Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach; Duane Vermeulen, Teboho Mohoje, Marcell Coetzee, Victor Matfield, Eben Etzebeth, Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismark du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Julian Redelinghuys, Lood de Jager, Nizaam Carr, Francois Hougaard, Handre Pollard, Damian de Allende.

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