(Reuters) – South Africa will be unchanged for their last test of the year against Wales on Saturday in a rarity for international rugby as coach Rassie Erasmus looks for a positive finish to his first year in charge.
The Springboks will start with the same team that edged past Scotland 26-20 at Murrayfield last weekend in a massive vote of confidence in inexperienced scrumhalf Embrose Papier, who starred in his first start.
Such was his performance that Erasmus decided not to recall first choice Faf de Klerk to the squad after letting him skip the Murrayfield test to play for his Sale Sharks team.
Giant lock Eben Etzebeth, who has missed the last two tests after suffering an ankle injury, is the only change on the substitute’s bench as he comes in for Lood de Jager.
“We will be desperate to win, and to end the tour on a high would be fantastic for the experience and growth of this squad,” Erasmus said on Thursday.
“Wales have a formidable squad and their current run of eight unbeaten tests is proof and also an indication of their good form at the moment.
“They are a well-balanced and strong side with a great home record so our boys will be in for a massive contest on Saturday.”
“As I’ve said before, we know Saturday’s test is going to be our most difficult match of the tour,” added the Bok coach, whose team lost to England but then scraped wins over France and Scotland.
Team: 15-Willie le Roux, 14-Sbu Nkosi, 13-Jesse Kriel, 12-Damian de Allende, 11-Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10-Handre Pollard, 9-Embrose Papier, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6-Siya Kolisi (captain), 5-Franco Mostert, 4-RG Snyman, 3-Frans Malherbe, 2-Malcolm Marx, 1-Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16-Bongi Mbonambi, 17-Thomas du Toit, 18-Vincent Koch, 19-Eben Etzebeth, 20-Francois Louw, 21-Ivan van Zyl, 22-Elton Jantjies, 23-Cheslin Kolbe.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by David Stamp and Christian Radnedge)