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Bakkies Botha to start for Springboks

Gettys

sarugby.co.za and James Mortimer     15 Nov 2013     Gettys

The 27-year-old Pietersen, who will return from Japan to Durban to play for The Sharks in Investec Super Rugby next season, made his Test debut on 9 September 2006 against Australia in Johannesburg when he was only 20.

Pietersen, a Rugby World Cup winner in 2007, will become the fifth player this season to earn his 50th Test cap for South Africa. Only two other wingers, Bryan Habana and Breyton Paulse, have reached this milestone for the Springboks.

“This is really a magnificent achievement for one of the many world-class wingers South African rugby has produced,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“For more than seven years, JP has been one of the most consistent players for the Springboks. He always gives everything he has for his country and this is just reward for the hard work and dedication he’s put in over the years. Was it not for injuries, JP would probably have played many more Tests for South Africa”

As anticipated, Meyer made a total of five changes to the starting line-up, while two more are possible because of injury niggles.

In the tight five, Bakkies Botha returns for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011, while Gurthrö Steenkamp and Adriaan Strauss will start at Murrayfield. Eben Etzebeth, Tendai Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis are on the bench.

In the backline, Willie le Roux takes over at fullback with Pat Lambie shifting to flyhalf. A final call on the availability of Morné Steyn (back) and Willem Alberts (shoulder) will be made on Saturday.

If Alberts is unfit to start, Siya Kolisi will take his place on the side of the scrum. Marcell Coetzee has been included on the bench in another rotational change with Kolisi, who will sit out if Alberts is passed fit. Steyn has been included on the bench pending a fitness test on Saturday.

“We said from the start of the tour that we were going to make a few changes for this Test,” said Meyer.

“We need to keep players fresh and motivated. Willie and Pat both did well after we lost Morné last weekend and deserve another opportunity on Sunday.

“Gurthrö and Adriaan, who will take over the vice-captaincy as well, have been part of the squad for a long time and will slot in easily. Furthermore, it has been great to have Bakkies back. His enthusiasm has been contagious and the younger guys have already learned a lot from spending time with him.

“We got our tour off to a good start last week against Wales in Cardiff and the focus this week has been on further improvement in a number of key areas of the game, most notably our discipline. In The Investec Rugby Championship, we conceded the fewest penalties, but last week against Wales we were penalised too much. It’s something that is very important to us and we are working very hard on our discipline.”

The Springbok team to face Scotland in Edinburgh is:

15. Willie le Roux 10 caps 15 points
14. JP Pietersen 49 caps 70 points
13. Jaque Fourie 70 caps 160 points
12. Jean de Villiers (captain) 94 caps 125 points
11. Bryan Habana 93 caps 265 points
10. Pat Lambie 30 caps 57 points
9. Fourie du Preez 66 caps 75 points
8. Duane Vermeulen 14 caps 5 points
7. Willem Alberts 28 caps 30 points/Siya Kolisi 9 caps 0 points
6. Francois Louw 26 caps 25 points
5. Flip van der Merwe 32 caps 5 points
4. Bakkies Botha 76 caps 35 points
3. Frans Malberhe 1 caps 0 points
2. Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain) 31 caps 25 points
1. Gurthrö Steenkamp 47 caps 30 points

Replacements:

16. Bismarck du Plessis 55 caps 45 points
17. Tendai Mtawarira 51 caps 10 points
18. Coenie Oosthuizen 12 caps 5 points
19. Eben Etzebeth 22 caps 0 points
20. Marcell Coetzee 14 caps 5 points
21. Ruan Pienaar 72 caps 130 points
22. Morné Steyn 52 caps 627 points/AN Other
23. JJ Engelbrecht 11 caps 20 points