Cornal Hendricks will start for South Africa against the World XV at Newlands on Saturday.
The Cheetahs wing is the only newcomer in the team as coach Heyneke Meyer opted for continuity in his team’s first match of the year.
The old firm of Bakkies Botha and interim captain Victor Matfield are re-united in the second row, and JP Pietersen moves to outside centre. Schalk Burger makes a return to the side for the first time in two and a half years while Frans Steyn, Schalk Brits, Lwazi Mvovo and Johan Goosen are also back after playing no Test rugby last year.
The five players who started in the 19-10 win over France in Paris last November but are not in the starting team this week, are the injured Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie and Eben Etzebeth, as well as Flip van der Merwe and Coenie Oosthuizen, who will both start on the bench.
'It’s positive to have this kind of continuity in our first start of the year,' said Meyer. 'Even though we’ll be starting with a new midfield combination, Frans and JP have both played more than 50 Tests for the Boks and with Bryan Habana also in the backline, Cornal will start with a lot of experience around him.
Meyer said it was pleasing to see Matfield and Botha re-united, while he was also very excited about the prospects of Hendricks on the wing, Pietersen at outside centre and the return of Burger, Brits and Steyn.
'If anyone told me two years ago that Victor and Bakkies would play together again for the Boks, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. They have been great servants of the game in South Africa and now have the opportunity to take it further.
'We’re also keen to see what JP can offer at outside centre, where he’s played very well for the Sharks earlier in his career and for his club in Japan.
'Cornal is a player I’ve been following for some time and I thought he made a very good transition from sevens to the 15-man code earlier this year. He’s big and very fast, and hopefully we’ll be able to provide him with some space to attack in. The Springbok Sevens can be very proud of the way in which they aided in his development to a top-class player.
'Frans and Schalk Brits are both special players with the X-factor and it’s wonderful to have them back. Their attitude has been superb and I know they can add a lot in the coming weeks. Lwazi has been great for the Cell C Sharks this year and I believe he can make an impact later in the match, while I’ve always rated Johan and it’s good to see him getting back to his best.
'This was a tough team selection to make and a couple of players were unlucky to miss out, but I know all of them will keep on pressing hard for selection in the weeks to come. I always like it if players in the team must make it easy for me to leave them in, and players outside the team must make it difficult to leave them out.'
Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix