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Steyn and Du Plessis to play 50th Tests for Springboks

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sarugby.co.za and James Mortimer     26 Sep 2013     Getty Images

It will be the second time in Springbok history that two players will earn their 50th caps in the same Test – on 1 August 2009 Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana, now the two most experienced members of the squad, reached this special milestone together against New Zealand in Durban.

Du Plessis and Steyn will become the 25th and 26th Springboks to play in 50 Tests for South Africa. Steyn also needs two points to move to 600 Test points for the Boks – he is currently on 598 in his 49 Tests to date.

The last Springbok to play in his 50th Test was Jannie’s brother Bismarck du Plessis, against Argentina in Mendoza last month, which means they will become the first set of brothers ever to play in 50 Tests for South Africa.

As part of a planned rotational switch, Strauss and Du Preez – who will start his first Test for the Springboks since the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia in New Zealand – come in for Bismarck du Plessis and Ruan Pienaar respectively, who will both start the Test against Australia on the bench.

The rest of the team that played against New Zealand in Auckland is unchanged.

“We’re all very pleased for Jannie and Morné, who are great ambassadors for South Africa and the Springboks,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“They have endured through difficult times but have shown a lot of resilience and that is why they have made it to this special milestone. It’s well-deserved and a privilege only a very small percentage of Springboks have achieved.”

Regarding the changes to the team, Meyer said: “The players all knew what the plans were for the Rugby Championships and where they stand. We were always going to rotate players where possible and planned to start this Test with Adriaan and Fourie.

“We know we’re in for a big challenge against Australia. The players have been working very hard and we’re looking forward to playing in front of our own supporters at DHL Newlands on Saturday – it’s always special to play Tests in South Africa,” added Meyer.

This will be the Springboks’ 50th Test at DHL Newlands since 1891 – the first stadium in South Africa to host 50 Tests. In the previous 49 Tests, South Africa have won 33, lost 14 and two were drawn for a winning percentage of 67%. The Springboks scored 938 points (122 tries) with 593 points against them (63 tries) – average score 19-12.

The Springbok team to face Australia in Cape Town is:

15. Zane Kirchner 26 caps, 20 points
14. Willie le Roux 7 caps, 5 points
13. JJ Engelbrecht 8 caps, 20 points
12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 91 caps, 115 points
11. Bryan Habana 90 caps, 255 points
10. Morné Steyn 49 caps, 598 points
9. Fourie du Preez 63 caps, 70 points
8. Duane Vermeulen 11 caps, 5 points
7. Willem Alberts 25 caps, 30 points
6. Francois Louw, 23 caps, 25 points
5. Flip van der Merwe 30 caps, 5 points
4. Eben Etzebeth 18 caps, 0 points
3. Jannie du Plessis, 49 caps, 5 points
2. Adriaan Strauss, 28 caps, 20 points
1. Tendai Mtawarira 48 caps, 10 points
Replacements:
16. Bismarck du Plessis 52 caps, 40 points
17. Gurthrö Steenkamp 44 caps, 30 points
18. Coenie Oosthuizen 9 caps, 5 points
19. Juandré Kruger 15 caps, 0 points
20. Siya Kolisi 6 caps, 0 points
21. Ruan Pienaar 70 caps, 130 points
22. Pat Lambie 27 caps, 55 points
23. Jan Serfontein 7 caps, 5points