Burger starts for Boks

Schalk Burger has replaced Warren Whiteley at eighthman for the Springboks' match against the Wallabies in Brisbane.

After an impressive performance as a replacement against the World XV last weekend, Burger will start his first Test at No 8 since 2007.

Burger’s inclusion in the starting lineup sees Whiteley drop out of the match-day squad, while there are four changes are on the bench, where props Heinke van der Merwe and Frans Malherbe, as well as Lood de Jager (lock) and Lwazi Mvovo (wing) have been included.

Jesse Kriel has retained his place at outside centre and will make his Test debut, becoming Springbok No 867.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the changes were all part of the plan to rotate players in the buildup to the World Cup.

‘We’re expecting a massive contest for the ball on the ground on Saturday and with Schalk there next to Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee, as well as Bismarck du Plessis, we’ve got a lot of players who are very good at the breakdowns.

‘Warren Whiteley played very well last weekend, but he knows exactly where he stands and will play again for the Boks this season. For this match, though, we decided to go with this specific loose trio.

‘I’ve said last week that we will make changes, but it’s also important to keep some form of momentum. Saturday’s match is going to be massive in the context of our season and we have to ensure we tick the right boxes.’

Meyer said he was excited to see what impact the newcomers would have coming off the bench.

‘There will most likely be changes for every match this season as we keep one eye on the World Cup. Trevor Nyakane and Vincent Koch performed very well off the bench against the World XV last weekend, but as we have a lot of depth at prop, I’ve decided to give opportunities to Heinke and Frans to stake their claims, especially as both of them have been in excellent form thus far this season.

‘Heinke was the in-form loosehead prop in the French Top 14, while Frans anchored a brilliant Stormers scrum this season.

‘Lood is back from injury and our plan has always been to bring him back in one of our first three internationals of the season, while we’ve decided to go for Lwazi as he was very good for the Sharks in Super Rugby, is superb under the high ball and knows his way to the tryline.’

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

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