Matfield to break Bok record

Victor Matfield will surpass John Smit as the most capped Springbok when he plays his 112th Test against Wales at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Matfield equalled Smit's Test record when he led the Boks against Wales in Durban last week. As expected, the veteran No 5 has been named to start against Wales in the second and decisive Test of the series, and will become the most capped South African when he takes the field.

'He has been a terrific servant of the game in South Africa and has led his country with distinction since returning to the green and gold,' said Bok coach Heyneke Meyer. 'When he returned to the game earlier this season, he set his goals on becoming a Springbok yet again and he’s worked extremely hard to get there. I don’t think anyone can doubt that he deserves his place in the team and he’s also been a great interim captain, with Jean de Villiers out injured.'

Meyer has made several changes for the game in Nelspruit. Beast Mtawarira comes in for loosehead prop Gurthrö Steenkamp, while Flip van der Merwe replaces lock Bakkies Botha.

Johan Goosen is battling a knee injury and has not been included among the reserves. Meyer has opted to replace Goosen on the Bok bench with a specialist centre in Wynand Olviier.

'I’ve always preferred to stick with a winning combination and the changes to the team were both part of our planning,' said Meyer. 'The backline really performed well last weekend and we would like to give them another opportunity to play together, as there were a number of new combinations.

'The same applies upfront. Bakkies is fit for selection, but we decided to manage his workload this week and I know Flip, who has been outstanding in the last two seasons, will slot back in easily. The same goes for Beast, who upped the tempo with his work rate last weekend.'

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Wynand Olivier, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

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