Du Preez to skipper Boks

Fourie du Preez will lead the Springboks against Scotland at St James’ Park on Saturday.

Victor Matfield was expected to take over the captaincy from Jean de Villiers, but the veteran lock has failed to recover from a hamstring strain and Lood de Jager will come in at No 5.

Du Preez will assume the leadership and continue at scrumhalf after overcoming a minor rib injury, while Jesse Kriel comes in for De Villiers at 13.

The only other change to the starting lineup sees Bismarck du Plessis start in place of Adriaan Strauss, who drops to the bench. 

Other new replacements are Pieter-Steph du Toit, Willem Alberts and Jan Serfontein, with the latter having been called up for De Villiers on Sunday.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said that losing two experienced captains in one week had been a severe blow, but that the squad included a number of highly capable deputies, with Schalk Burger named as vice-captain.

'Fourie has been one of the best scrumhalves in world rugby for a long time, but he also understands the game better than most players and is a tactical genius. He will know exactly what is needed on Saturday when we continue our fight to keep our World Cup dream alive.

'Schalk stood in on the last occasion that Jean and Victor were both absent earlier this season before Fourie had returned to fitness. They are both great leaders who go about their work in contrasting ways and I think they will work extremely well in tandem. They are hugely experienced and they know what it will take to win this very important match against a great Scottish side.'

Meyer said his team would have to build on their victory over Samoa on Saturday in order to stay in the hunt for a play-off spot at the World Cup.

'The performance against Samoa was much better, but Scotland have been impressive in their victories over Japan and the USA.

'We know in which areas we have to improve and we will have to fire at 100% on Saturday against a motivated Scotland side. The injuries have not been ideal, but we can’t do anything about that and the players selected will have to perform once again this weekend.'

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (c), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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