Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa have included “retired” 37-year-old Schalk Brits as a replacement and made five changes for a dead-rubber third Test against England in Cape Town Saturday.
Former Springboks hooker Brits recently announced his retirement having helped Saracens win the English Premiership.
He returned home to meet friends and watch the England series only to get a shock call-up because coach Rassie Erasmus valued his experience so much.
With injured first choice hooker Malcolm Marx unavailable, South Africa started with Bongi Mbonambi and brought on Akker van der Merwe for the first and second Tests.
Erasmus has rested both for Cape Town, giving experienced Chiliboy Ralepelle a start with Brits poised to come off the bench.
Full-back Warrick Gelant, centres Jesse Kriel and Andre Esterhuizen, fly-half Elton Jantjies and Ralepelle come in after a series-clinching 23-12 win last weekend.
They replace Willie le Roux, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Handre Pollard and Mbonambi for the tour finale at Newlands stadium.
Referring to the changes, Erasmus said: “No one is out of the team because of a lack of form.
“The changes are due to our long-term planning for the 2019 Rugby World Cup as we continue to build squad depth and capacity.
“The series might be won, but we still have an important Test match on Saturday.
“We are going to face a very determined English side who will be looking to end the series on a high,
“I expect a very physical and close-fought game. We are desperate to win and make it 3-0 while England will be desperate to win the game and make it 2-1.”
While praising the Springboks for victories in Johannesburg (42-29) and Bloemfontein, Erasmus said he wants to see much more improvement.
He vowed that there was no danger of South Africa “getting carried away” by the two close-fought triumphs.
“We made a lot of mistakes last week and this Saturday gives us the opportunity to rectify those errors and continue to build on our team cohesion.”
Warrick Gelant; Sibusiso Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphiwe Dyantyi; Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Franco Mostert, RG Snyman; Frans Malherbe, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: Schalk Brits, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Jean-Luc du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Embrose Papier, Handre Pollard, Willie le Roux
Coach: Rassie Erasmus (RSA)