Cape Town - Springbok hooker Bismark du Plessis has been rested for the Rugby Championship clash with Australia at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
Du Plessis would be replaced by Adriaan Strauss in a move that was always planned, coach Heyneke Meyer said, and was one of two changes to the side that lost in New Zealand this month.
Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has been brought back into the side in place of Ruan Pienaar.
Du Preez missed the last two tests in Australia and New Zealand but has been released for the final two games of the Rugby Championship by his Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.
“Bismark and Ruan always knew they would not play against Australia, there is nothing to be read into that,” Meyer told a news conference on Wednesday. “I can tell you now that Bismark will be back (on Oct. 5) against New Zealand.”
Meyer said the return of World Cup winner Du Preez was a major fillip for the side.
“Fourie is in a class of his own and it's like having another coach on the field, he helps to organises the defence and lead attack. That takes the pressure off (captain) Jean de Villers. I believe Fourie will take us to another level.”
Flyhalf Morne Steyn and prop Jannie du Plessis will both play their 50th matches for South Africa on Saturday.
“Steyn is maybe not the most talented player I have ever coached but he has an incredible work ethic and hard work always beats talent,” Meyer said. “I have coached him for 10 years now and if he has missed one training session I don't know about it. He is a great role model to younger players.
“The one area I am very happy with at the moment is the scrummaging, especially compared to last year, and Jannie must take a lot of credit for that,” he added.
“He does a lot of work outside of the scrums too; when we analyse matches he is always up there with the most tackles. I believe he is playing great rugby.”
Team: 15-Zane Kirchner, 14-Willie le Roux, 13-JJ Engelbrecht, 12-Jean de Villiers (captain), 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Morne Steyn, 9-Fourie du Preez, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Willem Alberts, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Flip van der Merwe, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Adriaan Strauss, 1-Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16-Bismark du Plessis, 17-Gurthro Steenkamp, 18-Coenie Oosthuizen, 19-Juandre Kruger, 20-Siya Kolisi, 21-Ruan Pienaar, 22-Pat Lambie, 23-Jan Serfontein. – Reuters