Ruan Pienaar will start at fullback against the Wallabies on Saturday, with Schalk Burger on the bench.
Pienaar replaces Frans Steyn, who will join Racing Metro after the Tri-Nations. Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has so far refused to pick overseas-based players, and this selection indicates Steyn won’t be considered while he’s in France.
‘Ruan is a brilliant rugby player,’ said De Villiers. ‘We want to keep his interest levels high and we can’t afford to lose Ruan. We are pleased to have found a spot for him. You don’t want to keep a player of his quality off the field for too long.’
The mercurial Steyn drops to the bench where Burger has also been named for his comeback from suspension for gouging in the June series against the British & Irish Lions.
The flanker comes back into the squad for Danie Rossouw, who is nursing a slight hamstring strain, but could not unseat Heinrich Brussow from the starting pack.
‘Heinrich has earned his spot, and what a pleasure it is for the team to have a player of Schalk’s calibre giving us a boost off the bench,’ De Villiers said.
Captain John Smit added, ‘It’s certainly indicative of where our team is at the moment to see Schalk at No.19. It shows how far the team has come. It’s amazing to have a bench like that.’
Smit scoffed at the recent criticism of the Springboks’ approach. ‘There is nothing boring about winning,” he said.
‘Those comments are water off a ducks back. The All Blacks and the Wallabies each kicked 34 times in the Bledisloe Cup match last week. We will play in a way that gives us the best chance of winning.
‘This season, that means a kicking game; next season we might need to run the ball to win. Whatever it takes.’
Fourie du Preez will play his 50th Test on Saturday, becoming the seventh player in the starting XV to have reached the landmark.
A fourth straight Tri-Nations victory will almost guarantee the world champions the 2009 series crown.
Springboks – 15 Ruan Pienaar, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 John Smit (c), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Andries Bekker, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Adi Jacobs, 22 Frans Steyn.