Springbok fullback Willie le Roux returned to his regular spot in the side despite the man-of-the-match heroics of Frans Steyn as the Boks made just two changes from the side that beat Wales last weekend for Saturday’s second tour game against Scotland.
Elton Jantjies will start the match as the Boks look to fight fire with fire and take on the Scottish playmakers out wide at their own game, with Handre Pollard joining Steyn on the bench.
The Bok management chose not to change any other positions despite S’bu Nkosi joining up with the team again after visa and passport problems.
Damian Willemse, who left the field early on Saturday against Wales, was ruled out with a concussion while Steyn’s move back to the bench may be more about his versatility and age in what promises to be a high-paced game.
Le Roux was widely criticised in the Boks’ win over the All Blacks and was replaced after halftime, but has not been discarded by the Bok management who back his skills in marshalling the backline ahead of the criticism and believe his experience will shine through when it matters.
It will not quell the hope of many fans that Aphelele Fassi could get a chance to stake a claim for the fullback spot, but on the face of it, it is unlikely Fassi will get a chance to start a test on this tour with a massive clash against England waiting next weekend.
What is interesting is the call to keep Jesse Kriel on the wing, especially after he looked rusty against Wales, and the hope is that his experience and versatility will be a lot better this week after another week of training.
Jantjies has been knocking on the door ever since the Rugby Championship and Pollard’s dip in form in that tournament has perhaps exacerbated the need for a two-flyhalf system that the Boks can operate under.
Given his early appearance in the second half last weekend, the Boks have decided perhaps the fire they expect from Finn Russell on attack can be negated by a player with a similar attacking vision, especially as the midfield seem to be in exceptional form right now.
Either way, Jantjies has the chance once again to show that a single-minded approach is not always the right one and can give the Boks way more options if it is successful.
What it does also leave is a bench that is potent on pace and power, with the bomb squad front row and Franco Mostert adding the power, and Jasper Wiese giving a new dimension in the second half which Scotland will have to contend with.
At the back, Pollard and Steyn and Cobus Reinach give the Boks different options if they need it against a Scotland side which showed against Australia they can mix it with the best and will be tough opposition for the World Champions.
Springbok team to face Scotland: Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies; Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Siya Kolisi (captain), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche.
Reserves: Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese, Cobus Reinach, Handre Pollard, Frans Steyn.