South Africa, with the series already in the bag, have made 10 changes to their starting line-up to play the British and Irish Lions at Ellis Park tomorrow.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers included only one uncapped player in the starting team when he named Blue Bulls’ Zane Kirchner at fullback.
Morne Steyn, the hero last-gasp penalty kicker in last weekend’s 28-25 second Test win, and Chiliboy Ralepelle will both make their first starts for the Springboks at flyhalf and hooker respectively.
Other newcomers to the starting XV are lock Johann Muller and flanker Heinrich Brussow, in for Bakkies Botha and Schalk Burger, who both picked up bans in the brutal second Test that the ’Boks won 28-25
Ryan Kankowski gets a run at No. 8, Jongi Nokwe and Odwa Ndungane start on the wings and there is a new center pairing in Wynand Olivier and Jaque Fourie.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to play against the Lions and we respect them so much, that we wanted to give all our players a chance to take them on,” De Villiers said. “We believe they are as good as the other guys and that they can go out and do an outstanding job for the Springboks.”
“They will also bring fresh energy to the team after two tough Tests and hopefully give us the quick ball to our backs, because we have shown we are capable of scoring tries from first phase,” he said.
Uncapped Sharks lock Steven Sykes has been included on the bench for the Test. This follows the unsuccessful appeal Botha for his two-week suspension for dangerous charging on Welsh prop Adam Jones.
Bismarck du Plessis, Pierre Spies, Ruan Pienaar and Frans Steyn all drop down to the bench, which also includes Gurthro Steenkamp, who comes back onto the bench after missing the second Test. Deon Carstens retains his place amongst the reserves.
“This is a very strong side. At the end of the Vodacom Super 14 I wanted to have 28 players who could play for the Springboks at any time and I think we’ve achieved that goal. I’m very happy with this selection,” De Villiers said.
Meanwhile the injury-ravaged Lions made seven changes as they seek to avoid a 3-0 series loss.
Injured Welsh props Gethin Jenkins and Jones were replaced by England duo Andrew Sheridan and Phil Vickery, who was given a torrid time by South Africa’s Tendai Mtawarira in the first Test and dropped for the second.
Centers Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Roberts were also ruled out through injury so Tommy Bowe moves in from the wing alongside Riki Flutey, who will make his Lions Test debut having played against the Lions in New Zealand for Wellington in 2005.
Ugo Monye, dropped after the first Test, returned to the right wing and last year’s world player of the year Shane Williams will start on the left.
Flankers Martyn Williams and Joe Worsley get their first starts of the series.
Prop John Hayes was named on the bench along with flyhalf James Hook.
“It is fair to say injuries have had an impact on the tour as you would expect including selection for the third Test as we were unfortunate to lose Brian O’Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones through injury last Saturday,” coach Ian McGeechan said in a statement.
“However, the players coming into the starting XV are all talented internationals and are as keen as ever to turn the tables on the Springboks. Last Saturday we were minutes away from winning and that is a huge positive to take into the third Test,” he said.