BY ELLIOT MATHYE
In a turn-of events, the Springboks head coach Peter de Villiers has made a few changes to his team ahead of their clash with Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, November 20.
Included in the squad are Zane Kirchner, Francois Hougaard and Ryan Kankowski were all announced to be in the starting 27 by de Villiers to add depth and composure to the home team.
In the place of Bjorn Basson who is back on home soil following a doping suspension and injury is fullback Gio Aplon. Aplon will switch from fullback position to winger. The youngster was part of the team that defeated Wales 29-25 on November 13, making a good impression to earn him a spot in the national team.
Other changes involve rising star, Lwazi Mvovo and Adriaan Strauss who are set to keep the Boks lock tight with the absence of Chiliboy Ralepelle who was also suspended after testing positive to a banned substance during the team’s tour.
An unrattled De Villiers said: “We have got a talented number of young players and this long tour gives us an opportunity to try out a few options. Players like Francois Hougaard played well during the Tri-Nations and also impressed me during our game with Wales” he said.
He added: “Another is Ryan, whom I believe is one of two talented eighth men in the squad and with his previous performance, I want him to show us what he can deliver”.
Despite Habana being ruled out due to injury, the home team is confident that they will beat Scotland after their two-in –a row wins against Ireland and Wales the past weeks.
The Boks team has been changed and it consists of the following players:
Zane Kirchner, Gio Aplon, Frans Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard; Ryan Kankowski, Juan Smith, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (captain), Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai “beast” Mtawarira.
Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, 1CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Willem Alberts, Ruan Pienaar, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo.