CAPE TOWN - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is not about to gamble with his job or run the risk of losing a match in the series against France.
As much was proven by his team selection for the third and final match of the series in Johannesburg on Saturday (5.05pm).
With the series already wrapped up 2-0 heading into the encounter, Coetzee had an opportunity to test a number of his fringe players and try some new combinations.
But with Bok fans slowly regaining some faith in the side, it was once again a call for continuity by Coetzee and his selectors.
Lions prop Ruan Dreyer, though, was the surprise inclusion in the run-on XV and will make his international debut at his home ground, Ellis Park.
His inclusion brings the number of Lions in the starting XV to seven, while Francois Hougaard has been preferred to Rudy Paige at scrumhalf and Jesse Kriel takes his place in the midfield again after sitting out last weekend’s match because of concussion.
Dillyn Leyds, Frans Steyn and tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen will once again have to strut their stuff off the bench.
Of Dreyer, who will become Springbok No.886, Coetzee says: “The inclusion of Ruan in the starting team gives us an important opportunity to build capacity in the tighthead position.
“This is a very important position and it is great to have players such as Coenie Oosthuizen and Steven Kitshoff coming off the bench as a combination, while Ruan will start next to his Lions hooker in Malcolm Marx.”
Ellis Park will also be roaring when fit-again flanker Jaco Kriel makes his return to the field off the bench.
And Coetzee says:“He (Kriel) deserves his chance in the match 23 (after shaking off a knee injury) and he is very eager to play.
“Jaco was in brilliant form before he got injured and I am sure he will make a huge impact off the bench.
“Jesse had an outstanding game in the first match in Pretoria and he really combined well with Jan Serfontein in the midfield before he was forced to leave the field.
“The retention of combinations is important because that will add to our continuity.”