Jake White will resist making any experimental changes to the team that lost three in a row in Australia and New Zealand.
Even though the Springboks can no longer win the Vodacom Tri Nations, White will be conservative in his selection for Saturday’s test against the All Blacks. He will only bring back Jean de Villiers who missed the overseas disaster because of injury.
De Villiers will play at inside centre in place of Wynand Olivier, but John Smit and Percy Montgomery will continue to be played. The two will be rested post the test series and in all likelihood picked again for the end of year tour. It is why there is not a lot of sympathy for White when he complains about player fatigue. The national coach is as guilty as any provincial or Super 14 coach of overplaying his senior players.
Even though White is in an all-win situation given that the All Blacks have already won the championship, he was insistent that he would pick his strongest available XV to try and get a much needed win. Saturday is about victory and not about preparing a squad for the World Cup. It is also not about giving players on the fringe test exposure against quality opposition.
You also have to question the All Blacks’ motivation in the next fortnight. They’ve spoken of the desire to win a series in South Africa for the first time since 1996, but having just won the Tri Nations you simply have to ask if they really care what happens in South Africa?
Boks (probable) to play All Blacks: Montgomery, Ndungane, Fourie, De Villiers, Habana, James, Du Preez, Cronje, Smith, Tyibilika, Matfield, Muller, Van der Linde, Smit and Du Randt.