Allister Coetzee is standing by his decision to start with Tendai Mtawarira ahead of the in-form Steven Kitshoff at loosehead prop when South Africa face Ireland on Saturday.
Kitshoff did well as the Springboks restored some pride in a tight 25-24 loss to New Zealand in their final match of the Rugby Championship in October.
But he will be among the replacements in Dublin, where Mtawarira, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Beast’, fellow prop Coenie Oosthuizen and inside centre Damian de Allende return to starting XV.
“Modern-day rugby is about using 23 players effectively, and having Kitshoff coming off the bench with 30 minutes to play has worked well for us this season,” Coetzee said.
“Continuity is important and we have kept changes to a minimum.
“I am really excited to see Damian getting an opportunity on Saturday. He has worked very hard and looked good in training.”
Coetzee acknowledged that taking on Ireland at Aviva Stadium is a tough prospect, particularly considering their stunning 40-29 win over New Zealand 12 months ago.
“Ireland beat us here in 2014 and with an experienced coaching team and world-class players, they are rightfully considered as the favourites and are one of few teams in the last five years that managed to beat the All Blacks,” he said.
“The Irish have a world-class half-back pair and their set-piece play is extremely good, so it will be a great battle on Saturday.
“They know how to keep the ball and use a good kicking game to put teams under pressure.”
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) November 9, 2017
Springboks: Andries Coetzee, Dillyn Leyds, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje; Tendai Mtawarira, Malcolm Marx, Coenie Oosthuizen, Eben Etzebeth (c), Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw.
Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Wilko Louw, Franco Mostert, Uzair Cassiem, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Francois Venter.
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