New-look All Blacks tackle re-jigged Boks
August 18, 2011
Stand-in skipper Victor Matfield will attempt to inspire a turnaround in fortunes for the Springboks © Getty Images
South Africa have opted to rotate their options as they look to return to winning ways against New Zealand in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Coach Peter de Villiers has made five changes in the wake of his side's reverse to Australia last weekend - their third in-a-row this year. Morne Steyn is recalled at fly-half at the expense of Butch James while back-row forward Willem Alberts, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and loose-head prop Gurthro Steenkamp all come back into the side to replace Danie Rossouw, John Smit and Tendai Mtawarira respectively. In the other change, versatile back Pat Lambie will start at fullback in place of the injured Frans Steyn.
Mtawarira, Rossouw and James are joined on the bench by CJ Van der Linde and Ashley Johnson, who was added to the Boks' squad earlier this week with Juan Smith sidelined through injury. Jean Deysel and Gerhard Mostert drop out of the match 22. In Smit's absence, Victor Matfield will captain the side for a 16th time.
New Zealand head coach Graham Henry has also made a number of personnel changes from their last outing, a victory against Australia in Auckland on August 6. Skipper and openside flanker Richie McCaw is being rested, as is fly-half Dan Carter, with Adam Thomson and Colin Slade named in their place. Veteran hooker Keven Mealamu will captain the team for the second time in a Test, after he led the All Blacks against Scotland in late 2008.
Slade is set for his second run-on start in his fifth Test, Jimmy Cowan is back at halfback, while in the forwards Liam Messam is at No.8, Sam Whitelock returns to lock alongside Ali Williams and John Afoa returns from his eye socket injury at tight-head prop.
The starting 15 also feature the return of a number of other recently injured All Blacks to the Test side for the first time this season. New Zealand's most capped prop, Tony Woodcock, is set to make his 75th Test appearance after an injury-enforced absence while fit-again back Richard Kahui is at centre, pairing with Sonny Bill Williams in the midfield for the first time. Isaia Toeava is on the right wing and Israel Dagg is at fullback.
South Africa: Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Gurthro Steenkamp, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Heinrich Brussow, Willem Alberts, Pierre Spies
Replacements: John Smit, Tendai Mtawarira, CJ Van der Linde, Danie Rossouw, Ashley Johnson, Francois Hougaard, Butch James
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Isaia Toeava, Richard Kahui, Sonny Bill Williams, Hosea Gear; Colin Slade, Jimmy Cowan; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu (captain), John Afoa, Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Adam Thomson, Liam Messam
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Jarrad Hoeata, Victor Vito, Andy Ellis, Piri Weepu, Cory Jane.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Small (England), Carlo Damasco (Italy)
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