South Africa makes 6 changes for France match
PARIS (AP) — Flyhalf Morne Steyn and scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar were rotated back into the Springboks side to play France on Saturday, among six changes following the 28-0 pummelling of Scotland.
Steyn and Pienaar, kept fresh for the six-day turnaround from Murrayfield, replace Pat Lambie and Fourie du Preez.
Up front, Eben Etzebeth comes in for Bakkies Botha at lock, and there’s a new front row with Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira replacing Frans Malherbe, Adriaan Strauss and Gurthro Steenkamp.
“Gurthro, Adriaan, Bakkies and Pat did very well last week against Scotland and will have an important role to play this week,” coach Heyneke Meyer said on Wednesday. “We have been quite fortunate with injuries this year and I’m very happy that we’ve managed to keep the continuity in selection.”
The Springboks are looking to close a year in which they have won nine of 11 tests with a first win in France since a 52-10 triumph in 1997.
“Most of the players have received ample game time and showed they have what it takes to perform at test level,” Meyer said. “Our aim is now to keep on improving against France and hopefully end a very successful season on a high note.”
France, which names its team on Thursday, has won the past four meetings at home. Four years ago, France dominated South Africa in the scrum in a 20-13 win and went on to win the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2010.
Following his impressive performance against Scotland, Oosthuizen will start at tighthead for the first time after 13 appearances off the bench. The uncapped Lourens Adriaanse comes onto the bench.
“This is a great opportunity for Coenie and we believe he’s ready to make the step up to a starting role” Meyer said. “I’m also very happy for Lourens, who has been part of the squad for almost the entire season. He’s waited patiently for an opportunity and what better way to make your debut than against France in Paris.”
South Africa: Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth, Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Gurthro Steenkamp, Lourens Adriaanse, Bakkies Botha, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Jano Vermaak, Pat Lambie.