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Summer tour: Potgieter one of three changes for Springboks

The flanker will win his first cap against England on Saturday in place of Willem Alberts.

Francois Hougaard will continue at scrum half.
Francois Hougaard will continue at scrum half.
Image: Barry Aldworth/Sports Inc/Press Association Images

JACQUES POTGIETER WILL win his first cap Saturday when South Africa face England in the final match of a three-Test series.

The inclusion of the bearded 26-year-old Northern Bull is one of three enforced changes to the Springbok team that took a series-clinching 2-0 lead after a 36-27 triumph in Johannesburg last Saturday.

Making his first appearance in the green and gold extra special is the fact that the Port Elizabeth-born 1.94-metre loose forward will make his Test debut at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in his home city.

Potgieter replaces Willem Alberts, known as The Bone Collector and one of the outstanding forwards of the series, who has not recovered from a knee ligaments injury sustained at Ellis Park last weekend.

An ankle injury suffered by full-back Patrick Lambie in the same match rules him out and versatile Gio Aplon returns to the national team after making 16 previous appearances.

Western Stormer Aplon will be the third Springbok No 15 in as many Tests with Zane Kirchner playing only half the first Test in Durban before retiring injured and Lambie started in Johannesburg.

Inside centre Francois Steyn is getting married Saturday and his place goes to 36-cap Wynand Olivier, one of six Bulls in the starting line-up as the Springbok seek to make it 10 wins in a row since 2006 over the Red Roses.

“Injuries have forced us to make changes, which is never ideal, but this provides an opportunity for players like Gio, Wynand and Jacques to put their hands up,” head coach Heyneke Meyer said in a statement.

There are two changes among the replacements with No 8 Ryan Kankowski taking over from Coastal Sharks team-mate Keegan Daniel and young Golden Lions fly-half Elton Jantjies getting his first match-22 call-up in place of Olivier.

Meyer said outside centre Jean de Villiers would remain captain for the rest of the year, which includes six Rugby Championship (formerly Tri Nations) matches and a three-Test end-of-season tour to Britain and Ireland.

“Jean has established himself as a brilliant leader and ambassador for South African rugby in the last two weeks. We have built up an awesome working relationship based on trust, integrity and loyalty,” said the coach.

De Villiers succeeded hooker John Smit, who retired after the Springboks lost to Australia in the 2011 Rugby World Cup quater-finals having led his country for eight years.

South Africa (v England): Gio Aplon; JP Pietersen, Jean de Villiers (capt), Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard; Pierre Spies, Jacques Potgieter, Marcell Coetzee; Juandre Kruger, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Werner Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Ryan Kankowski, Ruan Pienaar, Elton Jantjies, Bjorn Basson

- © AFP, 2012

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