Lionel Mapoe has been drafted in from outside the matchday squad to start in place of Jesse Kriel in the only change to the Springbok line-up for the Test match against France in Durban on Saturday.
Coach Allister Coetzee named an otherwise unchanged team on Thursday for the second of three Tests against Les Bleus in June.
Mapoe returns to the Bok starting line-up as replacement for Kriel, who is concussed.
All five players who made their Test debuts last week – Andries Coetzee (fullback), Raymond Rhule (right wing), Courtnall Skosan (left wing), Ross Cronje (scrumhalf) and Dillyn Leyds (outside back) – were retained by Coetzee, who said he wanted to maintain continuity and build momentum.
“We kept changes to a minimum and one change to the squad means we can continue to work on our continuity, which is so important,” said Coetzee.
“This is a new group, so playing together again means that the important combinations are gaining more experience. It is also nice to reward good performances and all of them deserve another opportunity.”
Coetzee said the Springboks worked hard during training this week and called for improvements in all areas of their game, especially as the French are expected to be bolstered this week with the inclusion of several players from Clermont and Toulon, who were not available for the opening Test.
With Kriel not available for the Durban encounter, the Springbok coach explained that the decision to select Mapoe next to Serfontein was an easy one.
“Jan Serfontein had a very good match at inside centre in Pretoria and we wanted a specialist at No 13 as replacement for Jesse, so Mapoe is a logical choice. It also means we’re preventing making two changes to the team,” said Coetzee.
The Springbok coach expects France will increase their physicality and effort in the second Test.
“The forward battle will always be a very important part of the game,” said Coetzee.
“We know we will be up against a very well prepared French team in the second Test and we are readying ourselves for that. They would like to bounce back and we would like to continue with our processes. Both teams have a lot to too play for.
“Although not perfect, I’m pleased with the set-pieces and expect a huge onslaught from the French in both areas. We created a number of scoring opportunities, which is a great positive, and hopefully our execution will be better this time.”
SPRINGBOKS: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Ooshuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds