South Africa dropped veteran captain John Smit to the bench on Tuesday amid five changes to its starting lineup for Saturday’s Tri-Nations Test against defending champion New Zealand.
Smit was replaced by Bismarck du Plessis, while lock Victor Matfield will captain the team for the 16th time in his 107th Test.
Fullback Patrick Lambie, flyhalf Morne Steyn, flanker Willem Alberts and prop Gurthro Steenkamp were also called into the 15 for the Springboks’ final game before the start of their World Cup defense.
Butch James, Danie Rossouw, Tendai Mtawarira and Smit were named on the bench by coach Peter de Villiers.
Lambie replaces Frans Steyn, who was ruled out against the No. 1-ranked All Blacks in Port Elizabeth with a hamstring injury.
Coach De Villiers said it was always part of the Boks’ World Cup planning to rest the 34-year-old hooker for the final game of the Tri-Nations.
“This is our last chance to look at certain combinations before the Rugby World Cup,” De Villiers said.