Springboks and Lions change 3 each in lineups for 2nd test
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe have been promoted and rookie Jasper Wiese is also starting for South Africa against the British and Irish Lions in the second test in Cape Town on Saturday.
Loosehead prop Kitshoff will earn his 50th test cap at Cape Town Stadium and replaces Ox Nché, who has a neck injury, while tighthead prop Malherbe comes in for Trevor Nyakane.
Wiese is in at No. 8 for just his second cap after debuting in the warmup game against Georgia this month. The loose forward replaces Kwagga Smith, who drops to the bench.
The changes are in reaction to losing the first test 22-17 last Saturday after leading for the first hour. The Springboks need a win to send the series to a decider. The Lions could seal their first series win in South Africa in 24 years.
“This is a massive game for us,” Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber said on Tuesday.
"It is do or die in order to stay in the race to win the series and we selected a team that offers continuity in selection, but also that we thought would be the best suited to achieve the objectives we have set for this match.
"Ox did well in the scrums last week and has been ruled out due to injury, but fortunately we have a world-class player in Steven who can step into the starting team. The fact that this will mark his 50th test will make this occasion even more important for him.”
Vincent Koch and Marco van Staden were brought into the reserves as South Africa returned to a 6-2 forwards-backs split which worked so well during their 2019 Rugby World Cup.
"We have had an extra week on the training field after a few disruptive weeks in the buildup to the opening test, so we are confident that the players in the squad will be able to deliver on the physicality and grit that will be required in this match,” Nienaber added.
"We need to be better in every area of the game this week, and the set-pieces will be crucial in laying the foundations we need to execute our game plan effectively.”
The Lions are starting Mako Vunipola, Conor Murray and Chris Harris amid three changes.
England loosehead prop Vunipola impressed off the bench in the first test win and comes in ahead of Rory Sutherland in the only change to the forwards.
Ireland scrumhalf Murray is a straight swap with Ali Price, who drops to the bench, and Scotland center Chris Harris comes into the test side for the first time, in place of Elliot Daly.
Dan Biggar, who was replaced late in the first test due to concussion, has completed his return-to-play protocol and assessment by an independent concussion consultant, and takes his place at flyhalf.
The only other player included in the matchday squad who was not part of the first test is Wales No. 8 Taulupe Faletau after he replaced Scotland flanker Hamish Watson.
“We know the Springboks will be hurting and they’ll throw everything at us on Saturday, but I think there's plenty more to come from us, too,” Lions coach Warren Gatland said. "We feel we can go up another level from where we were in the first test and I would expect us to improve.
"It's the biggest game on the tour and we have to embrace the expectation that comes with it. As players and coaches, these are the games you want to be involved in. We're relishing the opportunity to face the Springboks again on Saturday and potentially seal a series win.”
South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse.
British and Irish Lions: Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray; Jack Conan, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Maro Itoje, Tadhg Furlong, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola. Reserves: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Taulupe Faletau, Ali Price, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly.
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