South Africa opt for continuity ahead of second France test
Last Updated: 15/06/17 3:47pm
South Africa have made one enforced change as they seek a series-clinching second Test triumph over France on Saturday, bringing in centre Lionel Mapoe for concussed Jesse Kriel.
Outside centre Kriel was forced to leave the field after scoring the Springboks' first try in a 37-14 victory over the under-strength Les Bleus in Pretoria last Saturday.
Another win at Kings Park stadium in Durban this Saturday would give South Africa an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series, which ends in Johannesburg next weekend.
Mapoe did not make the original 31-man squad for the French Tests, but was promoted when injured Lukhanyo Am withdrew.
The Lions centre-cum-winger was then ruled out of the first Test because of a hamstring strain.
Choosing Mapoe raises to eight the number of Lions in the starting line-up, including recently named skipper and loose forward Warren Whiteley.
Coach Allister Coetzee explained why he opted for Mapoe over France-based utility back Francois Steyn, who remains among the eight replacements.
"Jan Serfontein had a very good match at inside centre in Pretoria and we wanted a specialist at No. 13 as replacement for Jesse, so Mapoe was a logical choice.
"It also means we are preventing making two changes to the team," said Coetzee.
Had the coach picked Steyn at inside centre, Serfontein would have switched to outside centre.
"We kept changes to a minimum and one change to the squad means we can continue to work on our continuity, which is so important.
"This is a new group, so playing together again means that the important combinations are gaining more experience.
"It is also nice to reward good performances and all of them deserve another opportunity," added Coetzee.
The coach hailed the first Test victory as the start of a new chapter after a calamitous first season in charge during which South Africa lost eight of 12 Tests.
Dark days in 2016 for the Springboks included conceded 57 points at home to arch foes New Zealand and first losses at home to Ireland, away to Argentina, and to Italy.
South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Malcolm Marx, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 8 Warren Whiteley.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Frans Steyn. 23. Dillyn Leyds.