Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has kept changes to a minimum for Saturday’s Test against Ireland in Dublin (7.30pm SA time), opting where possible for continuity and consistency.
Two of the three changes to the starting line-up that started against New Zealand in Cape Town are in the front row, where loosehead Tendai Mtawarira is back from a personal sabbatical for Steven Kitshoff, and Coenie Oosthuizen had been rushed straight back in at tighthead now that he is fully recovered from the arm he broke playing against the Wallabies in Perth on September 9.
He replaces Ruan Dreyer, who drops out of the squad, with Wilco Louw providing tighthead cover from the bench.
In the only change to the backline, Damian de Allende is recalled at inside centre in place of Jan Serfontein, who requested not to be considered for selection for this game.
There had been speculation that Coetzee might give Handré Pollard a start at flyhalf, but the coach has stuck with Elton Jantjies.
There are three new inclusions on the bench from the Boks’ last outing in hooker Bongi Mbonambi, loose forward Uzair Cassiem and centre Francois Venter.
“Modern-day rugby is about using 23 players effectively, and having Kitshoff coming off the bench with 30 minutes to play has worked well for us this season,” Coetzee said in a statement.
“Continuity is important and we have kept changes to a minimum, with Jean-Luc injured and Jan not available. I am really excited to see Damian getting an opportunity on Saturday. He has worked very hard and looked good in training.”
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Francois Venter.