South Africa v Scotland
Handre Pollard starts for Springboks against Scotland
ESPN Staff
June 26, 2014
Heyneke Meyer says Handre Pollard is a "special player" © Getty Images
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Handre Pollard will make his senior Test debut for South Africa after Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer selected the World Junior Player of the Year to start against Scotland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Pollard, who captained South Africa to runners-up spot in the recent Junior World Championship in New Zealand, is one of six changes to the side that defeated Wales 31-30 in Nelspruit.

"Our plans had always been to try a few new combinations this week against Scotland and I'm looking forward to see the guys grab their opportunities," Meyer said. "Handre is a very talented player and has a big opportunity this week, but he'll have Fourie du Preez's experience next to him while he's played a lot with Jan Serfontein before."

Meyer said that he would have picked Pollard earlier had the fly-half not been on Baby Boks duty in New Zealand.

"We felt it would be a great opportunity for him to lead his country as an under-20 player. He was always in the mix but unfortunately we couldn't pick him. We thought it was the right decision to let him get more experience.

"You always want to start with a player like that, see what he can bring to the table. We have three flyhalves and some were injured or out of contention.

"I have a lot of confidence in Handre. I think he is a special player, who has some brilliant touches on the ball. He is big and strong and has some great touches on the ball. I just felt this is the type of test match to see what he can do. If you look at all the great fly-halves, they all started at 18/19 and Handre is very mature for his age. I can't wait to see him get going."

Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Marcell Coetzee, Schalk Burger and Lwazi Mvovo also come into the starting XV. Many of the changes were due to English and French clubs calling players back from international duty, while Tendai Mtawarira, Flip van der Merwe, Willem Alberts and Johan Goosen have all been ruled out by injury.

Prop Marcel van der Merwe, lock Stephan Lewies, back row forward Teboho 'Oupa' Mohoje and fly-half Marnitz Boshoff are also in line to debut from the bench.

Scotland come into the game on the back of victories against the United States, Canada and Argentina, but this is the sternest test yet for new coach Vern Cotter.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein, Lwazi Mvovo, Handre Pollard, Fourie du Preez; Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Lood de Jager, Victor Matfield (captain), Marcell Coetzee, Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe, Stephan Lewies, Teboho 'Oupa' Mohoje, Francois Hougaard, Marnitz Boshoff, Zane Kirchner.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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