Springboks ring the changes for historic All Blacks clash

By Sam Rogers
soccer city stadium
Saturday's Test will be the first rugby match to be played at the FNB Stadium (Photo: M Casal)

soccer city stadium

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers has made seven changes to the side that lost heavily against the Wallabies last month.

Flip van der Merwe comes in at lock for Danie Rossouw—whose injury means he just makes the bench—while scrum half Francois Hougaard replaces the injured Ruan Pienaar.

Gio Aplon moves from wing to full back to cover for the injured full back Zane Kirchner after scans revealed knee cartilage damage. JP Pietersen moves to the wing to accommodate for the absence of Kirchner.

In a further reshuffle to the back field, there is a new combination in the centre with Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh selected ahead of Wynand Olivier and Jaque Fourie.

In the forwards, Jannie du Plessis and Juan Smith oust the experienced pair of BJ Botha and Ryan Kankowski. Botha is dropped from the squad entirely in addition to fellow prop Tendai Mtawarira.

The All Blacks are just one win from regaining the Tri Nations title and coach Graham Henry brings Jimmy Cowan and Ben Franks into the starting line-up.

The move sees Piri Weepu move to the bench while Franks’ brother Owen is out of the 22 completely being replaced by John Afoa.

History is likely to be made in a number of ways on Saturday with the match the first game of rugby to be held at the FNB Stadium, better known as the Soccer City Stadium which hosted matches at this year’s football World Cup in South Africa.

Hooker Kevin Mealamu will become the joint fifth most capped All Black alongside former lock Ian Jones and Dan Carter can surpass Andrew Mehrtens as the highest-scoring New Zealand player if he adds three points to his current tally of 207.

Additionally, Joe Rokocoko can equal Christian Cullen’s record of ten tries against South Africa with a score on Saturday.

South Africa: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Butch James, 22 Wynand Olivier.

New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Josevata Rokocoko, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Israel Dagg.

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