Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus has made five changes to his starting side to play England in the third Test at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
Four of the changes are in the backline, with Warrick Gelant named at fullback, Jesse Kriel and Andre Esterhuizen selected in an all-new midfield, and Elton Jantjies picked at fly-half.
Chiliboy Ralepelle starts at hooker in the only change to the starting pack.
Erasmus has made two chanages to his bench as well, with 37-year-old hooker Schalk Brits set to make his first Springboks appearance since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Promising young scrum-half Embrose Papier, who made his Springboks debut off the bench in the Test against Wales in Washington D.C., is also among the substitutions.
The Springboks clinched the three-match series between with their 23-12 victory in Bloemfontein last week, when front-rower Tendai Mtawarira made his 100th Test appearance, but Erasmus resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes.
Erasmus opted instead to try different combinations in key areas to reflect “our long-term planning for next year’s Rugby World Cup as we continue to build squad depth and capacity”.
Nelson Mandela’s former private secretary Zelda la Grange accompanied the Springboks when they visited Robben Island.
South Africa flyhalf Elton Jantjies believes it is coach Rassie Erasmus’ attention to detail that has seen the side claim back-to-back test wins over England and be on the brink of a series clean sweep in Cape Town on Saturday.
Will the Springboks maintain their unbeaten run under New Zealand referee Glen Jackson when they play England at Newlands?
“The series might be won but we still have an important Test match on Saturday, against a very determined English side who will be looking to end the series on a high,” said Erasmus.
“I expect a very physical and close-fought game. We are desperate to win and make it 3-0 while England will be desperate to win the game, make it 2-1 and finish their tour on a positive note.”
Erasmus praised the strides made by his players in the past two matches in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, where he selected an unchanged starting XV, but said he wanted to see much more improvement.
“We made a lot of mistakes last week and this Saturday gives us the opportunity to rectify those errors and to continue to build on our team cohesion,” he said.
Warrick Gelant; S’Busiso Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphiwe Dyantyi; Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, R.G. Snyman; Frans Malherbe, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Tendai Mtawarira.
Schalk Brits, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Jean-Luc du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Embrose Papier, Handré Pollard, Willie le Roux.