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Kolbe return among 12 changes for 'Boks as they take on New Zealand

After demolishing Australia, Rassie Erasmus will unleash his strongest available team this weekend.

This weekend's South Africa captain Duane Vermeulen and Eben Etzebeth after the narrow loss to the All Blacks in the 2015 World Cup semi-final.
This weekend's South Africa captain Duane Vermeulen and Eben Etzebeth after the narrow loss to the All Blacks in the 2015 World Cup semi-final.
Image: David Davies

RASSIE ERASMUS HAS named a full-strength South Africa side for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand, featuring 12 changes to the starting XV that defeated Australia last week.

The side was always going to be vastly different to the one that downed Australia 35-17 after the former Munster boss sent key players to Wellington early to prepare to face the world champions.

Only wing Makazole Mapimpi and forwards Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit survive from the starting line-up that triumphed in Johannesburg.

Veteran number eight Duane Vermeulen will lead the ‘Boks in a match that sees both sides desperate to gain advantage ahead of their blockbuster World Cup opening match in Japan on 21 September.

Erasmus said it was a sign of the respect South Africa had for the New Zealanders that they dispatched players in advance to acclimatise for Saturday’s fixture.

“The New Zealanders are a very experienced and settled side while we have some catching up to do in terms of where the two sides are at the moment,” he said.

Willie le Roux returns at fullback, with Cheslin Kolbe on the right wing opposite Mapimpi.

Cheslin Kolbe Toulouse star Cheslin Kolbe. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am join up again in the centres alongside a halves pairing of Handré Pollard and Faf de Klerk.

The back row comprises Vermeulen, du Toit and Kwagga Smith, behind a locking combination of Etzebeth and Franco Mostert. Hooker Malcolm Marx will pack down alongside Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe in the front row.

Scrum-half Herschel Jantjies, who scored two tries on debut against Australia, earned a spot on the bench.

Erasmus noted the Al Blacks also fielded a weakened team in last week’s win over Argentina and would welcome back players from the Super Rugby-winning Canterbury Crusaders.

“So we are in for a huge battle against the best team in the world,” he said.

South Africa (v New Zealand)

15 Willie le Roux
14 Cheslin Kolbe
13 Lukhanyo Am
12 Damian de Allende
11 Makazole Mapimpi
10 Handre Pollard
9 Faf de Klerk

1 Steven Kitshoff
2 Malcolm Marx
3 Frans Malherbe
4 Eben Etzebeth
5 Franco Mostert
6 Kwagga Smith
7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
8 Duane Vermeulen

Replacements:

16 Bongi Mbonambi
17 Tendai Mtawarira
18 Trevor Nyakane
19 RG Snyman
20 Francois Louw
21 Herschel Jantjies
22 Frans Steyn
23 Jesse Kriel

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AFP

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