Serfontein to start for Boks

Jan Serfontein will fill the void at No 12 when the Springboks play Wales in Durban this Saturday.

On Tuesday, Frans Steyn ruled himself out of the June Tests against Wales and Scotland. The move has plunged the Boks into something of a midfield crisis, as they are already without the injured trio of Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, and Damian de Allende, not to mention the ailing Juan de Jongh.

It's for this reason that Serfontein will be promoted to the starting side for this weekend's match. The game against Wales will mark his first start in international rugby.

While coach Heyneke Meyer admitted that Steyn's sudden departure has been disruptive, he is confident Serfontein will front up against Wales.

'Jan was first selected when he was 20 last year and it’s always been our plan to groom him for a long Springbok career,' said Meyer. 'He’s been playing well for the Bulls lately and his first start for the Springboks is well-deserved after making nine appearances from the bench in 2013.

'Jan and JP Pietersen will face a very experienced midfield combination on Saturday, but they have played against the best in Super Rugby and know what is expected of them.'

Other changes to the side that started against the World XV see Gürthro Steenkamp coming in at loosehead prop, and Fourie du Preez at scrumhalf. Steenkamp will win his 50th Test cap.

Cornal Hendricks retains his place on the right wing. While he played against the World XV last week, the match against Wales will be his first Test appearance.

Lock Flip van der Merwe has requested time off to attend his brother's wedding, and will be replaced by Lood de Jager on the bench. De Jager is another who will earn his first Test cap if he takes the field on Saturday.

Victor Matfield will lead the Boks in a game that will be especially significant for himself and flanker Schalk Burger. Both men haven't played Test rugby for the Boks since the 2011 World Cup quarter-final against Australia.

Matfield will equal John Smit's South African record of 111 Test caps when he starts at Kings Park this Saturday.

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 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gürthro Steenkamp.
Subs: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Beast Mtawarira, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Photo: Ryan Wilisky/BackpagePix


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