Heyneke Meyer has made four changes to his starting XV to take on France this weekend.
Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth and Morné Steyn all return to the starting line-up to feature in a team that has a familiar look about it, having played together for most of the 2013 season.
Willie le Roux holds onto the fullback berth after his man of the match display in Edinburgh, with Steyn’s return at fly-half meaning Patrick Lambie has to settle for a spot on the bench. Ruan Pienaar partners him at half-back, after Fourie du Preez’s departure from the squad back to Japan.
Coenie Oosthuizen makes his first start at tighthead, after 13 appearances from the bench, in place of the injured François Malherbe, and the uncapped Lourens Adriaanse comes onto the bench.
“This is a great opportunity for Coenie and we believe he’s ready to make the step up to a starting role in the team,” said coach Meyer. “I’m also very happy for Lourens, who has been part of the squad for almost the entire season. He’s waited patiently for an opportunity and what better way to make your debut than against France in Paris.”
Meyer commented that he had rotated the squad to keep them fresh for these final few tests of 2013.
“We have been quite fortunate with injuries this year and I’m very happy that we’ve managed to keep the continuity in selection. Most of the players have received ample game time and showed they have what it takes to perform at Test level. Our aim is now to keep on improving against France and hopefully end a very successful season on a high note.”
South Africa have won nine of their eleven Tests in 2013 and twelve from the past fourteen, including all of last year’s November tour. But the task of taking on France on home soil is a formidable one – the Springboks’ last away victory over them was in 1997 at the Parc des Princes.
South Africa team to play France:
15 Willie Le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Siya Kolisi, 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Patrick Lambie.