South Africa chop and change for New Zealand

Date published: September 13 2018

Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus has made four changes, including a positional switch, for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test with New Zealand in Wellington.

Handré Pollard will start at fly-half while Malcolm Marx and Lukhanyo Am are also back in the starting line-up for the Boks’ final away match in this year’s competition.

Erasmus announced his Springbok matchday 23 on Thursday afternoon in the New Zealand capital. Three of those changes are in the backline, while Erasmus also made some tweaks to the bench.

Pollard comes into the starting line-up and Elton Jantjies is set to play off the bench. Jesse Kriel is picked on the right wing as a result of the injury to Makazole Mapimpi, who has returned to South Africa to undergo further scans on his right knee.

As a result, Am takes Kriel’s position at outside centre and partners Damian de Allende in a new-look midfield combination.

The only change to the pack sees Marx rotating starting places with Bongi Mbonambi in the number two jersey and amongst the reserves, Ross Cronje swaps places with Embrose Papier as the backup scrum-half.

Erasmus emphasised that the Springboks will have to reduce the amount of costly errors against New Zealand.

“We have to deliver a much improved performance against the All Blacks,” he said.

“Keeping our discipline and retaining possession will be key, because New Zealand’s ability to counter from turnover ball is well-known.

“That means we have to be patient, our decision-making must be good and we have to capitalise on the opportunities that we create. The traditional rivalry between the two countries mean we can expect a huge physical battle.”

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Beast Mtawarira, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe

Date: Saturday, September 15
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Nic Berry (Australia)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)