Rookie Springbok prop Ruan Dreyer will draw on 54 minutes of Test match experience when he starts against the All Blacks in Albany on Saturday.
The one-cap tighthead will make his first appearance for South Africa since anchoring the scrum against France at Ellis Park in June.
Dreyer fills the void created by Coenie Oosthuizen’s injury withdrawal (broken arm), leapfrogging 31-Test Trevor Nyakane who has made three appearances off the bench in relief of Oosthuizen during this year’s Rugby Championship.
“Ruan did well when he replaced Frans Malherbe against a powerful French front row in June, and he will start on Saturday because we want to persist with Trevor Nyakane and Steven Kitshoff as a combination off the bench to make an impact in the second half,” said Bok coach Allister Coetzee.
Dreyer’s inexperience will be matched by counterpart Kane Hames, set to earn his third Test cap, who was also surprisingly promoted into a starting role for this week’s clash.
In two other changes to the matchday squad that played to a 23-23 draw against Australia last week, Franco Mostert comes back from a rest to resume duty at No 5, bumping Pieter-Steph du Toit into a utility-forward role on the bench, while Jean-Luc du Preez takes over from the injured Jaco Kriel (shoulder) at blindside flanker.
“Pieter-Steph did very well when he stepped in for Franco last weekend in a rotational switch,” said Coetzee. “Franco had five superb matches before he was rested last week, he is refreshed again and I expect another strong performance from him as his high work-rate is much needed.
According to Coetzee, this contest is the ultimate test for the Springboks, who are the only unbeaten international team in 2017 after six Tests.
“(The All Blacks) are the number one side in the world both in rankings and experience and there is no greater contest than to play them in New Zealand,” said Coetzee. “The rivalry between the two sides (is) filled with rich history, and on Saturday we get an opportunity to be part of that (again). They are always at their best when playing the Springboks and we are expecting another huge battle.
“There (is) no room for errors against the All Blacks because they will punish you for every mistake. We prepared well for this challenge and we will get another opportunity to gain more valuable experience as we continue to grow as a team.”
SPRINGBOKS: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende