Juan and Gurthro start for Boks
Gurthro Steenkamp and Juan de Jongh have been promoted to the starting line-up in the only two changes to the Springbok team ahead of their Test against Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday.
Steenkamp replaces CJ van der Linde at loosehead prop, after the latter took over as a late replacement for Tendai Mtawarira in last weekend’s 16-12 victory over Ireland in Dublin.
Mtawarira was sent home on Monday to undergo minor surgery after suffering heart palpitations, and he was replaced by Frans Malherbe in the Bok squad.
De Jongh replaces Jaco Taute at outside centre, with Van der Linde and Taute dropping to the bench.
“It’s great to have Gurthro back. We wanted to select him last week, but unfortunately he was not 100% fit,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer after he named his team on Wednesday.
“Gurthro is experienced, knows the conditions well and is looking forward to returning to the green and gold, as he’s not played for South Africa for more than a year.
“Juan is in a similar position. Even though he’s played in a number of Tests for us this year, he’s not started for the Boks since last year’s away leg of the Tri-Nations against New Zealand in Wellington.
“My plan has always been to give him a start on this tour, as he’s been playing very well lately, and I’m excited to see what he brings to the team on Saturday.”
Heinke van der Merwe, a late replacement on the bench for Van der Linde last weekend, has kept his place among the reserves.
The Springboks trailed 12-3 at half-time against Ireland, before fighting back in the second period to edge their hosts, and Meyer said they would need to up their game.
“Our focus has been on improving from our performance against Ireland last week,” Meyer said.
“We saw the match between Scotland and New Zealand and that the Scots scored three tries against the All Blacks — which is more than any other team has managed against them this year.
“It was their first Test back since their season started and they will not be an easy opponent on Saturday, but we’ve also brushed off some cobwebs in Dublin and have had a good week on the training field.
“We lost on our last visit to Edinburgh and realise Saturday will be a massive battle, but it’s one we are looking forward to.”
Springbok team: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Reserves: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 CJ van der Linde, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Morne Steyn, 22 Jaco Taute, 23 Lwazi Mvovo