DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: Frans Steyn will start his first Springbok test in 14 years at flyhalf while Pieter-Steph du Toit returns to the side of the scrum for Saturday’s crucial Rugby Championship game against Argentina in Durban.
South Africa had to test their strength at half-time with Handre Pollard, Elton Jantjies and Damian Willemse absent for various reasons and Steyn, 35, has filled the role he last played from the start against Italy in 2008.
He has had tests at the position this season, most recently in Saturday’s 36-20 win in Argentina, when Willemse was forced off the field through injury but has spent most of his time in a Bok shirt at full-back or centre-back.
“We were pleased with the calm that Frans Steyn brought at half-time when Damian left the field,” said Bok coach Jacques Nienaber on Tuesday when his team was lined up.
Du Toit replaces Franco Mostert on the flank, with the latter falling to the bench while the Boks return to their preferred 6-2 split between forwards and defenders, which sees the return of the “Bomb Squad” to take on King’s Park in the closing stages to provide power.
“The energy and enthusiasm that Pieter-Steph has shown in training has also been great and we know what he is capable of in this easy-going trio,” said Nienaber.
Otherwise, the starting XI is unchanged, although hooker Bongi Mbonambi (injury) and winger Kurt-Lee Arendse (suspension) are among the substitutes again.
The Boks need to at least match New Zealand’s performance against Australia in Auckland on Saturday to have any chance of winning the rugby championship.
Both South Africa and the All Blacks have 14 points in the table, but the latter have a +41 point difference in games to Boks’ +28, which would need to be made up.
“It’s all or nothing for us this week and we have a multi-player team who have won Rugby World Cup and the British & Irish Lions series so they know it’s going to be no less than 80 minutes until they make it This game and win the competition,” Nienaber said.
Team: 15 – Willie le Roux, 14 – Canan Moodie, 13 – Jesse Kriel, 12 – Damian de Allende, 11 – Makazole Mapimpi, 10 – Frans Steyn, 9 – Jaden Hendrikse, 8 – Jasper Wiese, 7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 – Siya Kolisi (Captain), 5 – Lood de Jager, 4 – Eben Etzebeth, 3 – Frans Malherbe, 2 – Malcolm Marx, 1 – Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 – Bongi Mbonambi, 17 – Ox Nche, 18 – Vincent Koch, 19 – Franco Mostert, 20 – Duane Vermeulen, 21 – Kwagga Smith, 22 – Faf de Klerk, 23 – Kurt-Lee Arendse.