Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Wednesday named the same starting line-up that beat Australia last weekend for Saturday’s Test in The Castle Rugby Championship against New Zealand at Soccer City in Soweto.
It’s the first time this season that the Springboks will field an unchanged starting team for consecutive Tests. The team is the same as the one that beat Australia by 31-8 in Pretoria last weekend. The only change is on the bench, where Coenie Oosthuizen takes over from Pat Cilliers as prop replacement.
The last time the Springboks started two consecutive Tests with the same starting XV, was in 2009 in the home victories over New Zealand (31-19 in Durban on August 1) and Australia (29-17 in Cape Town on August 8).
“It’s always a good thing if you don’t have to make any changes and after the late replacements we had to call in last week, it’s especially nice to be able to select an unchanged starting team for Saturday’s Test,” said Meyer.
“We’ve been hit hard by injuries this year, but thanks to the great work done by our medical team, we’ve managed to sort out a few of the little niggles left over from the Wallaby match for our final Test on home soil this year.
“Last week’s win was very satisfying, but we all know we will have to make another step up against New Zealand on Saturday. They recorded a good win in Argentina and will be confident, but so are we.”
The Springboks’ starting XV has a combined total of 430 Test caps – 162 to the forwards and 268 to the backs.
The Springbok team to face New Zealand in Soweto is:
15. Zane Kirchner (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 20 caps
14. Bryan Habana (DHL Western Province) 82 caps
13. Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions) 1 cap
12. Jean de Villiers (captain, DHL Western Province) 80 caps
11. Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 23 caps
10. Johan Goosen (Toyota FS Cheetahs) 3 caps
9. Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N-Ireland) 59 caps
8. Duane Vermeulen (DHL Western Province) 3 caps
7. Willem Alberts (The Sharks) 16 caps
6. Francois Louw (Bath, England) 13 caps
5. Andries Bekker (DHL Western Province) 28 caps
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Western Province) 7 caps
3. Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks) 38 caps
2. Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain, Toyota FS Cheetahs) 17 caps
1. Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks) 40 caps
16. Tiaan Liebenberg (DHL Western Province) 4 caps
17. Coenie Oosthuizen (Toyota FS Cheetahs) 1 cap
18. Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 19 caps
19. Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks) 8 caps
20. Elton Jantjies (MTN Golden Lions) 1 cap
21. Juan de Jongh (DHL Western Province) 11 caps
22. Pat Lambie (The Sharks) 16 caps
Stats and facts:
•Saturday’s Test will be the 85th between South Africa and New Zealand. The Springboks have won 34, New Zealand have won 47 and three have been drawn.
•South Africa and New Zealand met three weeks ago in Dunedin. New Zealand won 21-11.
•New Zealand’s win against Argentina last weekend was their 15th consecutive win, only three wins away from the world record of 18 consecutive wins, held by Lithuania. South Africa and New Zealand’s most consecutive wins records are both 17.
•The two teams have played 37 Tests against each other in the Vodacom Tri-Nations / The Castle Rugby Championship. The Springboks have won 11 and lost 26. Points for: 714; Points against: 1 013; Tries for: 63; Tries against: 96; Average score: 19-27.
•Only one Test match was played by the Springboks at Soccer City. On 21 August, 2010 they played against the All Blacks and that match was won by New Zealand 29-22.
•With 82 Tests, Bryan Habana is the most capped Springbok wing. He holds the record for the most Test tries for South Africa with 46 and has also scored the most tries by a Springbok in this competition with 13.
•Bryan needs two tries to equal Joost van der Westhuizen’s record of six career tries in Tests against New Zealand.
•Bryan is currently joint third for most career tries in the Vodacom Tri-Nations/The Castle Rugby Championship with 13. He needs two tries to join Joe Rokocoko of New Zealand in second place (15), behind Christian Cullen of New Zealand, who scored 16 tries in this competition.
•Jean de Villiers is the most capped Springbok centre with 65 Tests in this position. Jean also needs two tries to equal Joost van der Westhuizen’s record of six career tries in Tests against New Zealand.
•Ruan Pienaar will play in his 60th Test for South Africa and in his 25th in this competition.
Springbok Test match records at Soccer City:
•Most points – 15 by Morné Steyn (5p)
•Most tries – 1 by Schalk Burger
•Most conversions – 1 by Morné Steyn
•Most penalty goals – 5 by Morné Steyn