Rugby Championship
Springboks change two for title decider
ESPN Staff
October 2, 2013
Bismarck du Plessis starts for the Boks © Getty Images

South Africa have made two changes for the Rugby Championship title decider against the All Blacks on Saturday.

The Boks beat Australia last Saturday 28-8 but failed to get the extra bonus point to keep the pressure on the Kiwis who hold a five-point advantage at the top of the Championship. Despite the uphill battle facing Heyneke Meyer's men, they will harbour some hope of beating the All Blacks and inflicting a first defeat on Steve Hansen's team in the 2013 competition.

And Meyer has made two changes for the Test at Ellis Park with Juandre Kruger starting in the locks and Bismarck du Plessis getting the nod ahead of Adriaan Strauss at hooker. On the bench, Franco van der Merwe replaces his namesake Flip van der Merwe who is serving a one-week suspension.

They may yet make another change as they wait on JJ Engelbrecht's fitness - if he fails to recover from injury then Jan Serfontein will start with Juan de Jongh coming on to the bench.

"We will give JJ all the time he needs to fully recover from his quad muscle injury, but if he can't make it, Jan will start with Juan on the bench," explained Meyer. "Juandré will slot in without any difficulty as he's been part of the squad since day one and I'm very pleased for Franco, who has been training with us for more than a year already.

"Franco's attitude since day one has been fantastic, he's waited patiently and always stayed positive, which is what we as a team stand for. On Saturday, he could make his debut against New Zealand in front of his home crowd at Ellis Park on Saturday."

South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Eztebeth, Juandre Kruger, Francois Louw, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Franco van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi, Ruan Pienaar, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein/ Juan de Jongh

Follow live text commentary of the Test between South Africa and New Zealand on Saturday, October 5 from 3pm (GMT) , 1am (AEST, October 6), 4am (NZDT, October 6)

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