Cape Town – Jesse Kriel has been dropped, while Jasper Wiese is back for the Springboks for Saturday’s Test against Italy in Genoa (3pm SA time kickoff).
Lukhanyo Am’s injury-enforced absence has created a gap at outside centre in recent months, and up to now, that has been filled by Kriel.
But while the former Bulls back has improved in defence, he hasn’t been much of a threat with ball-in-hand, which has resulted in coach Jacques Nienaber opting for a new combination when he named his team on Tuesday.
Regular inside centre Damian de Allende – who has been a powerful figure with ball-in-hand – has been shifted to the No 13 jersey, while Andre Esterhuizen will get a chance at No 12 to earn an 11th Test cap.
Esterhuizen is in a similar mould to De Allende as a big ball-carrier, but has also improved his skill-set at English club Harlequins, and will hope to get the dangerous back-three of Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse into the action more often.
Following successive defeats to Ireland and France, Nienaber has kept the rest of the backline intact from the one that started in the 30-26 loss in Marseille.
But there is a boost upfront, as No 8 Wiese returns following concussion-related absence last weekend, with Kwagga Smith going to the bench.
Pieter-Steph du Toit’s red card against France will only be dealt with in a hearing on Wednesday, so that sees Franco Mostert moving to blindside flank and Marvin Orie coming in at No 5 lock.
Orie will be partnered by his Stormers teammate Salmaan Moerat in the second row, while on the bench, Evan Roos could make an impact in the second half.
“A couple of players have been training very hard in the last few weeks and deserve a chance to start, and Lood’s injury and Pieter-Steph’s disciplinary hearing opened the door for us to give them an opportunity,” Nienaber said.
“Salmaan and Marvin are both Stormers players, so they have been playing together for a while, and they are very hungry for game time, so we are looking forward to what they bring in the game.
“It’s also good to have Jasper back against the physical Italian pack, and we know that Kwagga will spark something different when he takes the field. Evan also gets a chance off the bench and his skills will work well with Kwagga’s in the loose trio, while Manie earns another run after making his debut last week.
“Manie’s versatility will also come in handy, as he can cover most positions in the backline, and with Cobus on the bench and several experienced backs in the backline, he will have enough guidance to be able to play his game.”
Springbok team: 15 Willie le Roux 14 Cheslin Kolbe 13 Damian de Allende 12 Andre Esterhuizen 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse 10 Damian Willemse 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Jasper Wiese 7 Franco Mostert 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Marvin Orie 4 Salmaan Moerat 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Bongi Mbonambi 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Vincent Koch 19 Eben Etzebeth 20 Kwagga Smith 21 Evan Roos 22 Cobus Reinach 23 Manie Libbok.