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DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) - Lionel Mapoe has replaced Jesse Kriel at outside centre as the only change to South Africa’s match-day 23 as the Springboks seek to continue their revival in the second test against France at King’s Park on Saturday.
Kriel suffered a concussion in the Boks’ 37-14 first test win at Loftus Versfeld last weekend. Mapoe missed the game with a hamstring strain.
The win was much-needed after a disastrous 2016 in which they lost eight of their 12 tests, including historic defeats at the hands of Ireland, Italy and Argentina.
Coach Allister Coetzee has decided against bringing in experienced World Cup winner Frans Steyn from the start for the second test, which would have necessitated a move by Jan Serfontein from the number 12 to 13 jersey.
“Jan had a very good match at inside centre in Pretoria and we wanted a specialist at number 13 as replacement for Jesse, so Mapoe is a logical choice. It also means we’re preventing making two changes to the team,” Coetzee said in a press release from SA Rugby on Thursday.
“We kept changes to a minimum and one change to the squad means we can continue to work on our continuity, which is so important.
“This is a new group, so playing together again means that the important combinations are gaining more experience. It is also nice to reward good performances and all of them deserve another opportunity.”
Tendai Mtawarira will extend his record as the most-capped Bok prop by taking his tally of appearances to 88. He is the third most experienced forward for the country with only Victor Matfield and John Smit ahead of him.
The Boks can clinch the series with victory in Durban ahead of the third and final test to be played at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on June 24.
South Africa: 15-Andries Coetzee, 14-Raymond Rhule, 13-Lionel Mapoe, 12-Jan Serfontein, 11-Courtnall Skosan, 10-Elton Jantjies, 9-Ross Cronje, 8-Warren Whiteley (captain), 7-Oupa Mohoje, 6-Siya Kolisi, 5-Franco Mostert, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Frans Malherbe, 2-Malcolm Marx, 1-Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16-Bongi Mbonambi, 17-Steven Kitshoff, 18-Coenie Oosthuizen, 19-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20-Jean-Luc du Preez, 21-Francois Hougaard, 22-Frans Steyn, 23-Dillyn Leyds
Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Mark Heinrich