Springbok props Tendai Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen have been recalled to start against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday night.
Facing the challenge of an Ireland pack loaded with British & Irish Lions, Bok coach Allister Coetzee has opted for the experience of the Sharks duo. Mtawarira, the most-capped prop in Bok history, replaces loosehead Steven Kitshoff while Ruan Dreyer makes way for fit-again Oosthuizen to anchor the scrum.
In the only other change to the team that started a 25-24 loss against the All Blacks at Newlands, Damian de Allende will wear the No 12 jersey in the absence of Jan Serfontein, who has joined up with Top 14 outfit, Montpellier.
Coetzee is counting on Mtawarira and Oosthuizen to negate Ireland’s all-Lions front row of Cian Healy (2013), Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong.
De Allende will line up opposite former Chiefs centre Bundee Aki who is set to debut for his adopted country.
The Bok bench features two changes, with Uz Cassiem covering the back row in place of injured No 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, while Cheetahs midfielder Francois Venter takes the seat emptied by De Allende’s promotion.
“Continuity is important and we have kept changes to a minimum, with Jean-Luc injured and Jan not available,” said Coetzee.
“Modern day rugby is about using 23 players effectively, and having Kitshoff coming off the bench with 30 mins to play has worked well for us this season.
Coetzee said the Springboks will have to adapt to a different challenge against an experienced Irish team this weekend.
“They beat us here in 2014 and with an experienced coaching team and world-class players, they are rightfully considered as the favourites and is one of few teams in the last five years that managed to beat the All Blacks,” he said.
“The Irish have a world-class halfback pair and their set-piece play is extremely good, so it will be a great battle on Saturday. They know how to keep the ball and uses a good kicking game to put teams under pressure.”
SPRINGBOKS: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 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
IRELAND: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale; 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 8 CJ Stander, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson; 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy
Bench: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 James Ryan, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Darren Sweetnam
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZ)