Rugby Championship: South Africa make two changes for New Zealand decider

Last Updated: 03/10/13 7:55pm

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Juandre Kruger: Back in the Springboks starting XV

Juandre Kruger: Back in the Springboks starting XV

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South Africa boss Heyneke Meyer has made two changes to his team for Saturday's Rugby Championship decider with New Zealand at Ellis Park.

As expected, hooker Bismarck du Plessis returns to the starting line-up in Johannesburg with Adriaan Strauss dropping down to the replacements bench, a straight swap from last weekend's win over Australia at Newlands.

Two weeks ago Du Plessis was sent off against the All Blacks in Auckland after earning a second yellow card. There was widespread condemnation of the first caution from French referee Romain Ponte for a tackle on fly-half Dan Carter and the IRB later chalked it off.

And former Northampton lock Juandre Kruger comes into the second row in place of the suspended Flip van der Merwe, with the uncapped Franco van der Merwe named on the bench.

JJ Engelbrecht will play in midfield provided he recovers from a quad muscle injury. If he fails to recover in time Jan Serfontein will start with Juan de Jongh taking his place on the bench.

The Springboks have to win the game by at least eight points and score four tries in the process if they are to win the Championship title at the All Blacks' expense.

Achievement

Prop Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira will make his 50th appearances for South Africa, after making his debut against Wales in 2008.

Mtawarira will also become the fifth Boks prop to achieve the feat behind Os du Randt, CJ van der Linde, Ollie le Roux and Jannie du Plessis.

"What a wonderful achievement for Beast," said Meyer. "He is someone who doesn't speak a lot, but you know he always gives everything he has for the Springbok jersey. It's always good to see hard work and dedication pay off like this.

"We will give JJ Engelbrecht all the time he needs to fully recover from his quad muscle injury, but if he can't make it, Jan will start with Juan on the bench," said Meyer.

"Juandre will slot in without any difficulty as he's been part of the squad since day one and I'm very pleased for Franco, who has been training with us for more than a year already.

"Franco's attitude since day one has been fantastic, he's waited patiently and always stayed positive, which is what we as a team stand for. On Saturday, he could make his debut against New Zealand in front of his home crowd at Ellis Park on Saturday."

South Africa: 15 Z Kirchner, 14 W le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht / J Serfontein, 12 J de Villiers (c), 11 B Habana, 10 M Steyn, 9 F du Preez, 1 T Mtawarira, 2 B du Plessis, 3 J du Plessis, 4 E Etzebeth, 5 J Kruger, 6 F Louw, 7 W Alberts, 8 Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16 A Strauss, 17 G Steenkamp, 18 C Oosthuizen, 19 F van der Merwe, 20 S Kolisi, 21 R Pienaar, 22 P Lambie, 23 J Serfontein / J de Jongh

South Africa v New Zealand will be live on Sky Sports 4 HD, with coverage beginning at 3pm on Saturday.

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