Boks make six changes to starting line-up for England test

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LONDON : South Africa have made six changes for their final autumn series fixture against England at Twickenham on Saturday, in part forced as the match is being played outside the international window and several players have rejoined their clubs.

Eben Etzebeth returns to the starting XV following last weekend’s 63-21 thumping of Italy to partner his old school teammate Marvin Orie at lock, while Jese Kriel is back at outside centre alongside Damian de Allende.

Makazole Mapimpi has been selected in the place of Cheslin Kolbe, who is not available, with the rest of the back three featuring fellow wing Kurt-Lee Arendse and Willie le Roux at fullback.

Flyhalf Damian Willemse and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk continue their budding partnership.

Evan Roos will start at number eight with Jasper Wiese also out of the mix, and he will pack down at the back of the scrum with Franco Mostert and captain Siya Kolisi.

The front row contains props Frans Malherbe and Ox Nche either side of hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

Apart from Kolbe and Wiese, other players unavailable for selection are centre Andre Esterhuizen, scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and prop Vincent Koch, while flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit is suspended.

“With this test falling outside the international window, we knew we would have to make changes to the team, but we are pleased with the depth we have built in the wider squad in the last few months, and it is paying off for us this week. Every player in this squad has played test rugby,” coach Jacques Nienaber said in a media release from South African Rugby.

He is relishing what he believes will be a mighty challenge for his side against Eddie Jones’ team.

“England will enter this match with the same mindset as us – to finish the season on a high note after a tough November campaign, and to build momentum with an eye on the World Cup,” Nienaber said.

“We are expecting them to throw everything they have at us. They are a well-balanced team with a strong pack of forwards and exciting backs, and they are well coached, so we know it is going to be an epic encounter.”

South Africa team: 15 – Willie le Roux, 14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 – Jesse Kriel, 12 – Damian de Allende, 11 – Makazole Mapimpi, 10 – Damian Willemse, 9 – Faf de Klerk, 8 – Evan Roos, 7 – Franco Mostert, 6 – Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 – Marvin Orie, 4 – Eben Etzebeth, 3 – Frans Malherbe, 2 – Bongi Mbonambi, 1 – Ox Nche

Replacements: 16 – Malcolm Marx, 17 – Steven Kitshoff, 18 – Thomas du Toit, 19 – Marco van Staden, 20 – Kwagga Smith, 21 – Jaden Hendrikse, 22 – Manie Libbok, 23 – Canan Moodie

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