Rugby Union: Jan Serfontein replaces Fran Steyn for South Africa
Last Updated: 11/06/14 2:07pm
Jan Serfontein: partnering JP Pietersen in the centre for South Africa
Cornal Hendricks will make his first Test start for South Africa – and Gurthro Steenkamp will make his 50th Test appearance – against Wales this weekend.
Hendricks' Free State Cheetahs team-mate Lodewyk de Jager has been selected on the bench for the match while Jan Serfontein comes in at inside-centre for Frans Steyn – who pulled out of the squad on Tuesday due to personal reasons – and Fourie du Preez starts at scrum-half with Ruan Pienaar on the bench.
Veteran lock Victor Matfield will equal John Smit's Test match appearance record for South Africa of 111 when he leads out the team at King's Park in Durban.
Coach Heyneke Meyer said: “I planned on giving Jan Serfontein an opportunity this month.
"He was first selected when he was 20 last year and it’s always been our plan to groom him for a long Springbok career.
"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.
The 32-year-old Steenkamp, who made his international debut against Scotland 10 years ago, will become the 29th Springbok to reach 50 Test caps.
“This is a wonderful achievement for Gurthrö and I’m very proud of him,” added Meyer.
“He has been playing Test rugby for a decade and is vastly experienced at all levels of the game.
"Gurthro always gives everything he has for the Springbok jersey and it’s always good to see commitment and hard work pay off.”
Meyer said he is expecting a thorough examination from Wales on Saturday.
“They started their tour well with a good win in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday evening and they are always fired up and ready,” he added.
“Wales have an experienced coaching team and they were the Six Nations champions in 2012 and 2013, as well as the backbone of the British & Irish Lions team which beat Australia last year, so this will be a massive challenge in our first Test of the season.”
South Africa: 15 Le Roux, 14 Hendricks, 13 Pietersen, 12 Serfontein, 11 Habana, 10 M Steyn, 9 du Preez, 1 Steenkamp, 2 B du Plessis, 3 J du Plessis, 4 Botha, 5 Matfield (capt), 6 Louw, 7 Alberts, 8 Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16 Brits, 17 Mtawarira, 18 Oosthuizen, 19 de Jager, 20 Burger, 21 Pienaar, 22 Goosen, 23 Mvovo.
Watch South Africa take on Wales live from Kings Park from 3.30pm this Saturday on Sky Sports 1