Simon Borchardt

Bismarck regains Bok No 2 jersey

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis will start at hooker against the All Blacks Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis will start at hooker against the All Blacks

Bismarck du Plessis will start at hooker for the Springboks in the Castle Rugby Championship title decider against the All Blacks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

In the other other change to the XV that beat the Wallabies 28-8 at Newlands, Juandré Kruger comes in for the suspended Flip van der Merwe. Uncapped Lions lock Franco van der Merwe has been placed on the bench.

Among the backs, the injured JJ Engelbrecht has been bracketed at outside centre with Jan Serfontein, while Juan de Jongh is standing by to come on to 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,' 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.'

Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira will earn his 50th Test cap on Saturday, becoming the fifth Bok prop to achieve this feat behind Os du Randt, CJ van der Linde, Ollie le Roux and Jannie du Plessis.

Springboks – 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.
Subs: 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.

Stats and facts:

– Should JJ Engelbrecht be cleared to play, the Springbok starting team will boast a total of 590 Test caps (341 in the backline and 249 in the forwards), while there are a further 197 caps worth of experience on the bench.

South Africa and New Zealand have played each other 86 times since 1921, with the Springboks winning 34, losing 49 and three being drawn. The Springboks have scored 1,328 points and 129 tries and conceded 1,641 points and 172 tries for an average score of 15-19.

Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 77 Tests. He will also be playing in his 21st Test against New Zealand, just three short of Victor Matfield’s record of 24.

Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 90 Tests so far, and if he scores a try, will extend his record of 51 Test tries for South Africa. He also just needs one try to equal the Rugby Championship record of Christian Cullen (New Zealand) who scored 16 tries in his Tri-Nations career.

Morné Steyn will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok flyhalf, with 49 Tests. He could also boost his record of seven tries as a flyhalf for South Africa. He would also extend his Springbok career record of 117 points against New Zealand.

Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis will extend their South African record of playing together in 30 Tests for South Africa. If he scores a try Bismarck will also add to his own record of eight Test tries for South Africa as a hooker.

– If he goes on and scores a try, Gurthrö Steenkamp will extend to seven his record as a prop for South Africa.

– If he comes off the bench, Franco van der Merwe will become Springbok No 854.

– The referee is Nigel Owens of Wales. This will be his 10th Test involving South Africa. The Springboks have won six and lost three of these encounters.

Photo: Sandra Mu/Getty Images

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