A first Test start for Dillyn Leyds and Francois Louw’s inclusion in the back row are two of the four changes to the Springbok squad to face the Wallabies in the Round 5 Rugby Championship match in Bloemfontein.
The experienced flanker is set to earn his 53rd Test cap for the Springboks at the Toyota Stadium, while Leyds will make his fourth appearance and first start on the wing, in place of Raymond Rhule.
Scrumhalf Ross Cronje is over his illness that forced him to withdraw from the New Zealand Test in Albany, while hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has been included in the match 23 for the first time since the home Test against Italy in June 2013. The experienced Cell C Sharks hooker got the nod over Bongi Mbonambi, who played off the bench in the previous seven Test this year.
According to Coetzee, the inclusion of the seasoned Louw will be valuable to the team.
“Francois showed this week that he is in a great condition and he brings a lot of experience to the team,” said Coetzee.
“I believe his strength is playing towards the ball, and he is renowned for making good decisions at the defensive breakdown. As a result Jean-Luc moves back to the bench, from where he can make a telling impact.”
On Leyds’ inclusion, Coetzee said: “It’s now the right time to give Dillyn a starting opportunity as I know what I have in Raymond.
“Dillyn has played consistently well in the Currie Cup and deserves a chance. Raymond stays part of our plan and will join up with the squad next week in Cape Town again.”
Cronje takes over the scrumhalf duties from Francois Hougaard, who started against New Zealand, while Rudy Paige will provide No 9 cover off the bench.
“It is great to resume the continuity between Ross and Elton Jantjies as a halfback combination. All three of our scrumhalves looked sharp during training this week,” said Coetzee.
The Springbok coach said he is expecting his team to deliver a vastly improved performance against Australia this weekend.
“Our preparations have gone well this week and the players are excited and eager to improve on our previous performance,” said Coetzee.
“The Wallabies are a good side with many dangerous and classy players across the board. And they would have gained a lot of confidence from their previous outings.”
15. Andries Coetzee (fullback), Emirates Lions – 7 caps
14. Dillyn Leyds (wing), DHL Stormers – 3 caps
13. Jesse Kriel (centre), Vodacom Bulls – 23 caps
12. Jan Serfontein (centre), Vodacom Bulls – 33 caps
11. Courtnall Skosan (wing), Emirates Lions – 7 caps
10. Elton Jantjies (flyhalf), Emirates Lions / NTT Shining Arcs (Japan) – 18 caps
9. Ross Cronje (scrumhalf) Emirates Lions – 4 caps
8. Uzair Cassiem (flank), Toyota Cheetahs – 5 caps
7. Francois Louw (flank), Bath (England) – 52 caps
6. Siya Kolisi (flank), DHL Stormers – 23 caps
5. Franco Mostert (lock), Emirates Lions / Ricoh Black Rams (Japan) – 13 caps
4. Eben Etzebeth (lock, captain), DHL Stormers – 61 caps
3. Ruan Dreyer (prop), Emirates Lions – 2 caps
2. Malcolm Marx (hooker), Emirates Lions – 9 caps
1. Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Cell C Sharks – 94 caps
16. Chiliboy Ralepelle (hooker), Cell C Sharks – 22 caps
17. Steven Kitshoff (prop), DHL Stormers – 17 caps
18. Trevor Nyakane (prop), Vodacom Bulls – 32 caps
19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock), DHL Stormers – 27 caps
20. Jean-Luc du Preez (loose forward), Cell C Sharks – 8 caps
21. Rudy Paige (scrumhalf), Vodacom Bulls – 10 caps
22. Handré Pollard (flyhalf) Vodacom Bulls – 21 caps
23. Damian de Allende (centre), DHL Stormers – 25 caps
Facts and stats:
Saturday’s Test match will be the Springboks’ fourth against Australia at this venue in Bloemfontein.
The Springbok record for the previous three matches is: P 3; W 2; L 1; PF: 83; PA: 68; TF: 7; TA: 7; Average score: 28-23. Win%: 67%.
South Africa’s overall record at the Toyota Stadium is: P 18; W 13; L 4; D 1; PF: 504; PA: 307; TF: 57; TA: 28; Average score: 28-17. Win%: 72%.
South Africa’s overall record against Australia is: P: 84; W: 46; L: 36; D: 2; PF: 1 630; PA: 1 471; TF: 190; TA: 150; Average score: 19-18. Win%: 55%.
The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 354. There are 95 caps in the backline with 259 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 162 caps.
The average caps per player in the backline are 14, the forwards 32 while the players on the bench average 20.
·The average age of the starting 15 is 27.