Francois Hougaard will start Saturday's game against the All Blacks. Photo: Nic Bothma, EPA

CAPE TOWN - Scrumhalf Ross Cronje has been withdrawn from the Springbok team to face the All Back on Saturday in Albany because of illness and is replaced by Francois Hougaard, who was initially named on the bench.
 
Rudy Paige is now the replacement scrumhalf for the important Castle Lager Rugby Championship match on Saturday at the QBE Stadium in Albany, New Zealand
 
The Springboks have won five and drawn one Test so far this season, however, Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth said his side face their biggest challenge this weekend against the world champions.
 
“Despite our results so far this season, we know we will have to step up our game,” explained Etzebeth. “A local rugby fan came up to me and said he thought the All Blacks versus Springbok games are probably the biggest in world rugby and I agree with him. 

"Our matches are always massive, we know they’re our biggest competition and hopefully they feel the same about us.”
 
Meanwhile, Etzebeth added that he has embraced the captaincy since he took over the leadership from the injured Warren Whiteley.
 
“As a leader, I am even more competitive because your ambition for success is bigger,” explained the towering 25-year old lock who makes his 61st Test appearance on Saturday.
 
The match kicks off at 7.36p, on Saturday and is live on SuperSport. 
 
Springbok team: Andries Coetzee, Raymond Rhule, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Francois Hougaard, Uzair Cassiem, Jean-Luc du Preez, Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rudy Paige, Handré Pollard, Damian de Allende.

SA Rugby Communications

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