18 Aug 2010

Seven changes to Springbok team

6:46 pm on 18 August 2010

The Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has recalled World Cup winners Juan Smith and J.P. Pietersen among seven changes for the Tri-Nations test against the All Blacks in Johannesburg this weekend.

Flanker Smith, who has been a regular member of the Springbok line-up since 2003 with 62 caps, replaces Ryan Kankowski, restoring the experienced, tried-and-tested loose forward combination with Pierre Spies and Schalk Burger.

South Africa were well-beaten in tests in Auckland and Wellington last month and will hope for a major improvement in the match at Soccer City.

Pietersen, whose Super 14 campaign with the Sharks was disrupted by a knee injury, replaces Gio Aplon on the right wing, with Aplon moving to fullback in place of Zane Kirchner, who is injured.

The Springboks will field a new centre pairing of Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh, instead of Wynand Olivier and the suspended Jaque Fourie, while Francois Hougaard makes his first start at scrum-half after Ruan Pienaar suffered a shoulder injury.

Up front, Jannie du Plessis returns at tighthead prop for B.J. Botha and rookie lock Flip van der Merwe starts in place of Danie Rossouw, who has a niggling hip injury and will be on the bench.

South Africa - 15-Gio Aplon, 14-J.P. Pietersen, 13-Juan de Jongh, 12-Jean de Villiers, 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Morne Steyn, 9-Francois Hougaard, 8-Pierre Spies, 7-Juan Smith, 6-Schalk Burger, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Flip van der Merwe, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-John Smit, 1-Gurthro Steenkamp. Reserves: 16-Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17-C.J. van der Linde, 18-Danie Rossouw, 19-Francois Louw, 20-Enrico Januarie, 21-Butch James, 22-Wynand Olivier.