sarugby.net and James Mortimer 20.Jun.2012getty
Spies was included in a starting 15 that shows three changes from the one that beat England in the second Test of the Castle Incoming Tour. Willem Alberts (flank) and Pat Lambie (fullback) were not declared fit for the Test.
Jacques Potgieter will make his Springbok debut at flank in the place of Alberts, Gio Aplon has been selected at fullback for Lambie and Wynand Olivier comes in at inside centre for Frans Steyn, who is getting married.
There are two changes on the bench. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies has been selected in a Test squad for the first time and will earn his Bok debut if he gets game time, while Ryan Kankowski takes over from Keegan Daniel.
“Injuries have forced us to make a number of changes, which is never ideal, but this provides an opportunity for players like Gio, Wynand and Jacques to put up their hands,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Gio is our third fullback of the series, but he’s experienced and has been part of our planning. Wynand came on as a replacement in both of the first two Tests and knows our game plan, while Jacques has impressed this year as a very strong ball carrier – hopefully he can continue with the good work Willem has done in the last fortnight.”
The starting 15 boast a combined total of 464 Test caps – 299 for the backs and 165 for the forwards.
Meanwhile Meyer has also decided to hand the captaincy to the most experienced Springbok centre ever for the remaining nine Tests of the year.
“Jean had established himself as a brilliant leader and ambassador for the Springboks and South African rugby in the last two weeks,” said Meyer.
“He leads the team with distinction on and off the field and gained respect, not just from his team mates and the management team, but also from the media, public, sponsors and other stake holders.
“We have built up an awesome working relationship based on trust, integrity and loyalty, which is why I decided to make him the captain for the rest of the year.”
De Villiers, who led the Boks to victories in the first two Tests against England, said he was very grateful for the trust shown in him.
“The experience thus far has been unbelievable and humbling and I’ve really enjoyed the environment created by Heyneke Meyer,” said De Villiers.
“It’s easy working with this team and the help that I’ve received from the other senior players has made my job so much easier.
“I’m looking forward to working with them for the rest of the year and hopefully we can grow as a team and reach our goal of becoming number one in the world.”
South Africa: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Bjorn Basson.