Victor Matfield, the Man of the Match in the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, is one of four changes to the starting line-up for the Springboks for their second Test against Wales in Pretoria on Saturday.
The giant lock returns to international action having pledged to return to South Africa after a season at French club Toulon. He will pack down alongside his Blue Bulls team mate Bakkies Botha on their home turf against the Six Nations champions.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has made three changes in his front five from the side that beat Wales 43-17 and made only one alteration behind the pack.
Scrum half Ricky Januarie returns after serving a one-match disciplinary sentence, Bolla Conradie dropping to the bench, while there are two further changes in the front row. Tendai Mtawarira, the Sharks prop better known as ‘The Beast’, will make his debut at loose head, while BJ Botha comes in at tight-head.
Ryan Kankowski and Francois Steyn replace Dannie Roussouw and Ruan Pienaar among the replacements..
“We know Wales are going to come out blasting. They’ve had some time to examine their shortcomings and we expect a far better display,” admitted De Villiers.
“So we’ve rolled out the big guns to begin building for the Tri-Nations. We know what level will be required when we meet New Zealand, so for me it’s also important to see how a few of these younger players adjust.”
Springbok skipper John Smit will make his 75th appearance in the front row and join New Zealand’s Sean Fitzpatrick as the third-most capped captain in the world game with his 51st game in charge.
Percy Montgomery, meanwhile, will be hoping for another appearance off the replacements bench to move closer to becoming the latest member of world rugby’s 100 cap club. He marked his 95th cap with another try against Wales last weekend, taking his total against the men in red in eight outings to 91 and his global tally for the Springboks to 878.
South Africa: Conrad Jantjes; Tonderai Chavanga, Adrian Jacobs, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Butch James, Ricky Januarie; Tendai Mtawarira, John Smit (captain), BJ Botha, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Luke Watson, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies.
Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Andries Bekker, Ryan Kankowski, Bolla Conradie, Francois Steyn, Percy Montgomery.