South Africa v Wales: Springboks make 14 changes for second Test in Bloemfontein

South Africa v Wales: Springboks make 14 changes for second Test in Bloemfontein

Jacques Nienaber was appointed South Africa head coach in January 2020
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein Date: Saturday, 9 July Kick-off: 16:05 BST
Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Radio Wales Extra – available via BBC Sounds, 882 MW and BBC Sport Online and BBC Sport Online, Radio Cymru plus live text and match report on the BBC Sport website

South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber has made 14 changes to the starting side to face Wales for the second Test on Saturday.

Only lock Eben Etzebeth remains from the team that defeated Wales 32-29 in Pretoria.

After not being involved last week, fly-half Handre Pollard takes over the captaincy from Siya Kolisi.

Uncapped duo Kurt-Lee Arendse and Evan Roos have been handed first Springboks starts.

Ntuthuko Mchunu, Ruan Nortje, Deon Fourie and scrum-half Grant Williams could make their debuts off the bench.

Utility forward Fourie, 35, will become the oldest player to make a Springbok debut if he comes on the field in Bloemfontein.

The 2019 World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit returns to the back row after injury.

Only four players in the first Test match 23 retained their places with hooker Malcolm Marx, prop Vincent Koch and Damian Willemse – who kicked the winning penalty in Pretoria – included on the bench.

“We said from the outset that we needed to strike a balance between giving our talented young players an opportunity to show what they can do at international level, and winning,” said Nienaber.

“If one looks at the balance between players who have played at this level and those who have performed consistently well for their franchises and clubs, I think we have a nice balance in this squad.

“A number of these players have been with us for a few seasons, while others travelled with us last season to Australia Rugby Championship and the year-end tour.

“Then there are a few new faces who showed during the season that they have the potential to rise to this level of the game, so we are excited to see what they can do on Saturday.

Handre Pollard
Handre Pollard has won 60 caps for South Africa since his debut in 2014

“Wales showed last week that they are fighters and can go for the full 80 minutes and we are expecting nothing different from them this week.

“This will be a good test for the younger players in the group to measure themselves against some of the best players in Wales, some of whom played for the British & Irish Lions, so everyone knows they will be in for a proper Test on Saturday.

“We are delighted to see these players get an opportunity at this level and I believe if they play to their potential, they will bolster our depth going forward.

“They are all very excited at the prospect of wearing the green and gold, but they also know what Wales will bring on the day and that every opportunity will be important.”

Nienaber explained why Pollard had been handed the captaincy.

“Handre is one of our most experienced players and has been part of our core leadership group for a number of years now,” he said.

“I’m sure he will slot into the role with ease.”

South Africa team to face Wales in Bloemfontein: Warrick Gelant; Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphelele Fassi; Handre Pollard (capt), Jaden Hendrikse; Thomas du Toit, Joseph Dweba, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Marvin Orie, Marcell Coetzee, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Evan Roos.

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Vincent Koch, Ruan Nortje, Rynhardt Elstadt, Deon Fourie, Grant Williams, Damian Willemse.

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