13 changes for White’s Boks

Springbok coach Jake White unveiled 13 changes, including giving Luke Watson and Waylon Murray their first caps, when he named his South African team to face Samoa in a one-off Test at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Captain John Smit and scrum-half Ricky Januarie are the only players who were retained in the starting XV that recorded a 55-22 victory over England in the second Test in Pretoria last Saturday.

Another noteworthy fact from the ‘new’ Bok team is the inclusion of two veteran forwards – 34-year-old prop Os du Randt and 37-year-old lock Johan Ackermann.

Ackermann will become the oldest Springbok in history (37 years, 6 days) – 113 days older that Boy Morkel, who played his final Test against the All Blacks in 1921 at age 36 years and 258 days.

In a game in which several ‘fringe’ players get a chance to put their hands up for World Cup places, a number of the players return to the Green and Gold club’s starting XV after lengthy lay-offs.

Bob Skinstad, who made a couple of appearances off the bench in last week’s win over England, will start a game for the Boks for the first time since the 2002 Tri-Nations series. The 30-year-old Skinstad has 35 Test caps to his credit – 10 of them as captain.

Derick Hougaard’s last appearance was a little more ‘recent’ – having faced New Zealand at Telstra Dome in Melbourne at the 2003 World Cup quarter-final. He was just 20 then and will play in his sixth Test on Saturday.

Another back after watching from the sidelines for some time is JP Pietersen, who made his only Test appearance against Australia in last year’s Tri-Nations encounter at Ellis Park.

Also back after a long time between ‘drinks’ is midfielder Wayne Julies, who came on as a replacement against France at Newlands, Cape Town, in June last year.

With only 50 Test caps, this is the most inexperienced Springbok backline since the second Test against Argentina in 1994.

John Smit will lead the Springboks for a record 41st time and will be playing in his 45th consecutive Test match. He will also improve on his record of 63 Tests as a hooker.

Should Percy Montgomery come off the bench and play he could improve his existing points record, 695, and he could improve his record 69 Tests as a fullback.

The biggest winning margin of 52 points was achieved in the very first Test in 1995, and in the same Test, the Springbok scored nine tries, the most against Samoa.

South Africa: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 Ashwin Willemse, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Bob Skinstad, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Luke Watson, 5 Albert van den Berg, 4 Johan Ackermann, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Os du Randt.
Replacements: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Johann Muller, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Jaque Fourie, 22 Percy Montgomery.

Date: 9 June 2007
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
Touch judges: Hugh Watkins (Wales), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Television match official: Ed Murray (Scotland)
Assessor: Steve Hilditch (Ireland)

365 Digital

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