Springbok boss Jacques Nienaber says they expect an epic challenge against the All Blacks, but his charges need to deliver an 80-minute display to get a favourable result.
During the team announcement for the 100th Test against the All Blacks, Nienaber confirmed that there are two changes to the starting lineup and as many to the bench.
Kwagga Smith replaces Franco Mostert at blindside flank and Lood de Jager takes over from Marvin Orie at No 5 lock. Among the substitutes, Mostert, Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn come on to the bench, with Orie and Damian Willemse dropping out of the match-day 23.
Commenting on his selections, Nienaber said: “Experience will be vital to ensure that we remain focused and calm throughout the match, and players such as Elton and Frans will bring that when they take the field. They have both played and won against the All Blacks, but they will also bring a set of different skills.
“Lood also boasts 51 Test caps, which will be valuable in this match, while Kwagga has faced them before as well, which gives us a chance to give Franco a well-deserved opportunity to be managed carefully this week after a physically taxing load since the season started.
“Both Elton and Frans have been training very well, they’ve also been in our structures for years and have performed well for the team in high-pressure matches, so we are keen to see what dynamic they will bring to the game.”
Nienaber expected an epic encounter with the All Blacks, who have won all four of their Rugby Championship matches up to now with bonus points.
“It’s always a massive task to face the All Blacks,” said Nienaber. “They have skillful players who thrive on turnover ball and who know how to capitalise on point-scoring opportunities, so we know that we need to a deliver a quality 80-minute performance against them to turn the corner after two disappointing defeats.
“We are fully aware of the challenge that awaits us, and we know what we have to do to stay on the right side of the scoreboard this weekend – strong defence, accurate execution and capitalising on our point-scoring chances will be key,” said Nienaber.
“We also have to ensure we make minimal mistakes because the All Blacks have proved time and time again how they punish teams from small errors, so we need to deliver an effective performance all around.”
Photo: Mark Tantrum/Getty Images