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Mtawarira to win 50th cap

02nd October 2013 11:54

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Tendai Beast Mtawarira Bok training 2012

Milestone: Tendai Mtawarira

Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira will play in his 50th Test for the Springboks when they take on New Zealand at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Mtawarira, who made his Test debut on 14 June 2008 against Wales in Pretoria, will become the 27th Springbok to reach 50 Test caps, following hot on the heels of his fellow front rankers, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, as well as Morné Steyn.

Mtawarira will also become the fifth prop to achieve this feat behind Os du Randt, CJ van der Linde, Ollie le Roux and Jannie du Plessis.

"What a wonderful achievement for Beast," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

"He is someone who doesn't speak a lot, but you know he always gives everything he has for the Springbok jersey. It's always good to see hard work and dedication pay off like this."

There are two changes to the Springbok team that beat Australia by 28-8 in Cape Town last weekend, as well as one possible change.

Upfront, Bismarck du Plessis rotates with Adriaan Strauss at hooker, while Juandré Kruger comes in at lock for Flip van der Merwe. The uncapped Franco van der Merwe has been selected on the bench.

At the back, JJ Engelbrecht is bracketed at outside centre with Jan Serfontein, while Juan de Jongh will come onto the bench if needed.

"We will give JJ all the time he needs to fully recover from his quad muscle injury, but if he can't make it, Jan will start with Juan on the bench," explained Meyer.

"Juandré will slot in without any difficulty as he's been part of the squad since day one and I'm very pleased for Franco, who has been training with us for more than a year already.

"Franco's attitude since day one has been fantastic, he's waited patiently and always stayed positive, which is what we as a team stand for. On Saturday, he could make his debut against New Zealand in front of his home crowd at Ellis Park on Saturday."

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht/Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Franco van der Merwe, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein/Juan de Jongh.

Date: Saturday, October 5
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17:00 (15:00 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens
Assistant referees: John Lacey, Leighton Hodges
Television match official: Graham Hughes

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