June 14, 2018 / 11:25 AM / 6 months ago

Rugby - Boks go for extra jumper in Du Toit as 'Beast' reaches milestone

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (Reuters) - South Africa have selected Pieter-Steph du Toit on the flank while ‘Beast’ Tendai Mtawarira will become the sixth Springbok to reach 100 caps after coach Rassie Erasmus named his team to face England in the second test in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: Britain Rugby Union - Barbarians v South Africa - The Killik Cup - Wembley Stadium - 5/11/16 South Africa's Pieter-Steph Du Toit celebrates with his teamates after he scores a try Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic

The versatile Du Toit, who has won 22 of his 34 caps at flank and has also previously played number eight, comes in for Jean-Luc du Plessis, who drops to the bench.

Du Toit will be a formidable extra jumper in the line-outs and is also a powerful runner with the ball in hand as the Boks seek to wrap-up the three-game series after winning the thrilling first test 42-39 at Ellis Park last weekend.

The only other change to the starting lineup sees tight-head prop Frans Malherbe return from long-term injury in place of Trevor Nyakane, while Elton Jantjies has been axed from the bench which leaves no natural back-up to starting flyhalf Handre Pollard.

Much of the focus from the home support will be on Zimbabwe-born prop Mtawarira, affectionately known as ‘Beast’, who joins a select band of Boks to have played 100 internationals.

That list also includes former lock Victor Matfield (127 caps), winger Bryan Habana (124), hooker John Smit (111), centre Jean de Villiers (109) and fullback Percy Montgomery (102).

“Much like a typical front rower, Beast is not someone who likes the spotlight,” Erasmus said in a media release from South African Rugby on Thursday.

“However, his contribution to Springbok rugby during the past decade has been enormous and I want to congratulate him on reaching 100 test caps for South Africa.

“It is a special achievement and, while he deserves the accolades, I know he will be totally focused on the most important job, and that is to face an extremely determined England side on Saturday in Bloem.”

South Africa bounced back from a 24-3 deficit in the first quarter of the opening test to claim victory and Erasmus expects another examination of his team’s character in the second match of the three-game series.

“England is a powerful side and I know (their coach) Eddie Jones will have his team super prepared for Saturday,” said Erasmus.

“They will no doubt want to bounce back to level the series, so it’s going to be another huge test of our resolve and character.”

The third and final test will be played in Cape Town on June 23.

South Africa team:

15-Willie le Roux, 14-S’busiso Nkosi, 13-Lukhanyo Am, 12-Damian de Allende, 11-Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10-Handre Pollard, 9-Faf de Klerk, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6-Siya Kolisi (captain), 5-Franco Mostert, 4-RG Snyman, 3-Frans Malherbe, 2-Bongi Mbonambi, 1-Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16-Akker van der Merwe, 17-Steven Kitshoff, 18-Thomas du Toit, 19-Jean-Luc du Plessis, 20-Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21-Ivan van Zyl, 22-Jesse Kriel, 23-Warrick Gelant

Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris

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