Springboks pick Pollard for All Blacks clash

Handre Pollard will start at fly-half for South Africa in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand in Wellington.

Pollard replaces Elton Jantjies, who drops to the bench, as Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus shakes up his backline following the 23-18 defeat against Australia last time out.

Jesse Kriel moves from centre to wing to replace the injured Makazole Mapimpi, who has returned home for further scans on his right knee.

Damian de Allende comes in to form a new-look midfield partnership with Lukhanyo Am, while there is just one change in the pack, Malcolm Marx taking over from Bongi Mbonambi at hooker.

The Boks have lost 11 of their last 12 meetings with the All Blacks and Erasmus is expecting another tough test at the Westpac Stadium in his side’s final away fixture in this year’s competition.

“We have to deliver a much improved performance against the All Blacks,” he said.

“Keeping our discipline and retaining possession will be key, because New Zealand’s ability to counter from turnover ball is well-known.

“That means we have to be patient, our decision-making must be good and we have to capitalise on the opportunities that we create.

“The traditional rivalry between the two countries means we can expect a huge physical battle.”

South Africa XV to face New Zealand: Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Warren Whiteley

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira, Wilco Louw, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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