Francois Louw also played at No 8 against the All Blacks at Newlands last year. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has installed Francois Louw at No 8 in place of Sikhumbuzo Notshe for Saturday’s big Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld.

Louw’s sudden arrival in Pretoria on Monday, after club duty with English side Bath, suggested that he was a possible starter due to Warren Whiteley’s ongoing groin injury that ruled him out of last week’s 23-12 win over the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth.

The man who replaced Whiteley was Notshe, who tackled strongly, but didn’t get much opportunity with ball-in-hand at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

So, the Western Province star can feel hard done by for not getting another chance against New Zealand in Pretoria.

In two other expected changes, Damian de Allende returns at inside centre, while Steven Kitshoff takes over from Tendai Mtawarira at loosehead prop.

De Allende has recovered from a shoulder injury to reclaim the No 12 jersey from André Esterhuizen, while Kitshoff and Mtawarira have rotated a few times this year.

“Damian has trained very well and took full contact this week, so he is ready,” Erasmus said on Thursday.

“Notshe played well against the Wallabies last weekend, and will offer us something different when he goes on, but Flo (Louw) has a lot of experience and is good on the ground.”

In another surprise move, Saracens No 3 Vincent Koch will be the tighthead prop cover in place of Wilco Louw.

“Vincent has learnt a lot from playing in northern-hemisphere conditions, and I am sure he is very keen to pull on that green-and-gold jersey again,” Erasmus said.

“He has a burning desire to play for the Springboks, and I am delighted for him as we continue to build our squad depth.”

Springbok Team

15 Willie le Roux 14 Cheslin Kolbe 13 Jesse Kriel 12 Damian de Allende 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi 10 Handré Pollard 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Francois Louw 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Franco Mostert 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Malcolm Marx 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi 17 Tendai Mtawarira 18 Vincent Koch 19 RG Snyman 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe 21 Embrose Papier 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Damian Willemse.

 

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