Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made two injury-enforced changes to his matchday squad for their final Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Gold Coast, with Ox Nché earning a starting berth and Jasper Wiese being drafted in among the replacements.
Nché will start at loosehead prop with Trevor Nyakane switching to tighthead after Frans Malherbe was ruled out of selection due to a neck niggle, while Wiese takes over from Marco van Staden, who suffered a shoulder injury in the latter stages of last week’s 19-17 defeat against the All Blacks in Townsville.
Cheslin Kolbe, who missed the team’s first two matches against the Wallabies and last week’s outing against the All Blacks due to a leg injury, trained with the team on Monday and Tuesday, but he was unable to complete the last training session, which dashed his hopes of making a comeback.
The match at the CBUS Super Stadium kicks off at 20h05 (09h05 SA time) and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
“We made a big step-up in terms of our performance last week and having reviewed the match, there is no doubt we delivered a performance worthy of a victory,” said Nienaber.
“With that in mind we opted for continuity in our team, so the only change in the run-on side is Ox taking over in the front row after Frans was ruled out.
“Trevor is a seasoned campaigner who is equally comfortable at loosehead and tighthead prop, and Ox is a strong scrummager, so we are looking forward to seeing what they can do in the scrums.
“Cheslin would have started the match if he made a full recovery from the leg injury which has kept him out since the beginning of our Australian tour, but unfortunately his injury flared up during the latter stages of Tuesday’s field session, so we could not select him.
“On the bench, Jasper takes over from Marco, and we are fortunate in that they are similar in terms of their physicality and strong ball-carrying abilities.”
Nienaber stressed the importance of turning the corner after three successive defeats on tour and said the entire squad was aligned in terms of what their roles were to steer the team to a much-needed win.
Springbok team to face New Zealand in Gold Coast:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 69 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks) – 15 caps, 45 pts (9t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 22 caps, 25 pts (5t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 54 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 21 caps, 80 pts (16t)
10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 56 caps, 556 pts (6t, 83c, 116p, 4d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) – 35 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls) – 57 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 15 caps, 5 pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 59 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 52 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 93 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 50 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 44 caps, 45 pts (9t)
1 – Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 5 caps, 0pts
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 42 caps, 45 pts (9t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 55 caps, 5pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 27 caps, 0 pts
19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 47 caps, 5pts (1t)
20 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 7 caps, 0 pts
21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 17 caps, 25 pts (5t)
22 – Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes) – 40 caps, 300 pts (2t, 64c, 54p)
23 – Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 70 caps, 141pts (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)