Bongi Mbonambi will start his first-ever Test for the Boks in Saturday’s clash against Italy in Padua.
Malcolm Marx has failed to recover from a shoulder injury, and as a result, Mbonambi is elevated into the starting lineup, with Chiliboy Ralepelle coming onto the bench.
Meanwhile, Pieter-Steph du Toit will start on the flank in the only other change to the Boks’ starting lineup, while Warrick Gelant has been named on the bench.
As expected, Du Toit returns from a concussion-enforced absence to replace Siya Kolisi, who is on paternity leave.
Gelant is in line to make his Test debut as he replaces Damian de Allende among the substitutes.
‘We decided not to risk Malcolm, which means Bongi will get a well-deserved first start in the No 2 jersey,’ Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said.
‘Bongi has worked hard and I have no doubt he will grab this opportunity with both hands, as will Chiliboy, should he get a run.
‘Warrick is in good form and his work-rate during training has been impressive. I know he will add value and I am very excited for the possibility of seeing him in action.’
Springboks – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.
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