Warrick Gelant and Dan du Preez will both make their first start for the Springboks, while fellow rookie Lukhanyo Am will be eager to make his Test debut off the bench in Saturday’s clash against Wales in Cardiff.
Gelant made his first appearance off the wood during last week’s win against Italy, replacing Courtnall Skosan on the left wing. He’s been promoted in the only change to the starting backline for the Boks’ final match of 2017
In the four remaining changes to the run-on side, Steven Kitshoff takes over from veteran loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira (groin), fit-again Malcolm Marx bumps hooker Bongi Mbonambi back to the bench, and Du Preez and Siya Kolisi fill the voids created by No 8 Duane Vermeulen (Toulon) and openside flanker Francois Louw (Bath) returning to their European clubs as this week falls outside the official November Test window.
Am will cover the midfielders and he and fellow Sharks mate, scrum Louis Schreuder, will be itching to get a first taste of Test action. Uz Cassiem, Oupa Mohoje and Ruan Dreyer round out the bench with Trevor Nyakane backing up Kitshoff.
“We expect another gruelling contest against a strong Welsh team… playing in front of a passionate crowd of more than 65,000,” said coach Allister Coetzee.
The Boks have won eight of their last 10 matches against the Dragons in Wales, though Coetzee’s first match in Cardiff, at the corresponding point of last season, resulted in the biggest defeat against Wales in team history.
SPRINGBOKS: 15 Andries, Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Warrick Gelant, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Uz Cassiem, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Lukhanyo Am
WALES: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Hallam Amos, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rob Evans
Bench: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18. Rhodri Jones, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Owen Watkin