The Springboks restored scrum-half Ruan Pienaar and No 8 Pierre Spies to the starting line-up when coach Peter de Villiers named the team to take on England at Twickenham on Saturday.
The pair replaces Francois Hougaard and Ryan Kankowski in a team that was otherwise unchanged from the one which lost 21-17 to Scotland in Edinburgh. Hougaard drops to the bench in a straight swap with Pienaar while Kankowski drops out of the squad altogether.
De Villiers said he had dismissed the idea of making wholesale changes. “There is no panic,” he said. “This team has all the ability we need – but what we all know is that we have to execute more accurately than we did against Scotland.
“That game is behind us now but we’ve looked hard at the lessons of it and know that we can’t allow let ourselves to make as many mistakes in our basic execution.”
The Springboks upset many predictions to beat Ireland in the opening match of the tour and followed up with victory over Wales before the four-point defeat to Scotland, who leapfrogged both of their Celtic rivals in the IRB rankings as a result.
The Springboks go into Saturday’s Test having beaten England on six successive occasions but with the home side installed as favourites.
“England have made good progress since they started their tour to Australia this year and will be full of confidence,” said De Villiers. “A full Twickenham will ensure that this is the toughest Test of the tour for us.
“But Saturday’s performance wasn’t a true reflection of the talent in this squad and the players want to put that right and end the Test season on a high.”
South Africa v England
Twickenham, 27 November, 2010
15. Zane Kirchner Vodacom Blue Bulls
14. Gio Aplon Vodacom Western Province
13. Frans Steyn Racing Metro
12. Jean de Villiers Vodacom Western Province
11. Lwazi Mvovo The Sharks
10. Morne Steyn Vodacom Blue Bulls
9. Ruan Pienaar Ulster
1. Tendai MtawariraThe Sharks
2. Bismarck du Plessis The Sharks
3. Jannie du Plessis The Sharks
4. Bakkies Botha Vodacom Blue Bulls
5. Victor Matfield (captain) Vodacom Blue Bulls
6. Deon Stegmann Vodacom Blue Bulls
7. Juan Smith Vodacom Cheetahs
8. Pierre Spies Vodacom Blue Bulls
16 Adriaan Strauss Vodacom Cheetahs
17. CJ van der Linde Vodacom Cheetahs
18. Flip van der Merwe Vodacom Blue Bulls
19. Willem Alberts The Sharks
20. Francois Hougaard Vodacom Blue Bulls
21. Patrick Lambie The Sharks
22. Adi Jacobs The Sharks
· Saturday’s test match will be the 32nd Test between England and South Africa since the first test at Crystal Palace in 1906. That test against Paul Roos’ “Springbokken” was drawn 3-3 and remains the only draw beaten the teams to this day.
· Between 2000 and 2006 South Africa suffered seven consecutive defeats against England, but since then the Springboks have recorded six successive victories.
· South Africa’s overall record against England is: Played 31; Won 18; Lost 12; Drawn 1; Points for 640; Points against 480; Tries for 59; Tries against 33; Average score 21-15.
· South Africa’s record against England at Twickenham is: Played 16; Won 8; Lost 8; Points for 246; Points against 270; Tries for 24; Tries against 25; Average score 15-17.
· Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha will play in their World record 60th test as a lock pairing in the starting line-up.
· Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis will play in their 14th test match as brothers. The most by any brother combination in Springbok Rugby.
· Victor Matfield will extend his record as the most capped Springbok to 105 matches.
· Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most capped Springbok centre to 53 matches.
· Morné Steyn needs two points to surpass Naas Botha’s 312 career points and become the second highest scorer in Springbok Tests behind kicking coach Percy Montgomery.
· CJ van der Linde needs one try to join three other Springboks (Chris Koch, Os du Randt and Gurthro Steenkamp) as the top try scorer for a prop in tests.
· Bismarck du Plessis needs one try to become the sole record holder for most tries in tests by a hooker. He is currently level with James Dalton on 5 career tries.
MATCH RECORDS IN TESTS BETWEEN ENGLAND AND SOUTH AFRICA
Biggest win – 50 (53-3) at Twickenham, 2002
Most points – 53 at Twickenham, 2002
Most tries – 7 at Twickenham, 2002
Most conversions – 6 at Twickenham, 2002
Most penalty goals – 8 in Bloemfontein, 2000
Most drop goals – 2 in Perth, 2003
Most points by a player – 27 – CR Andrew in Pretoria, 1994; JP Wilkinson in Bloemfontein, 2000 and CC Hodgson at Twickenham, 2004
Most tries by a player – 2 – WJH Greenwood at Twickenham, 2002
Most conversions by a player – 2 – By six players
Most penalty goals by a player – 8 – JP Wilkinson in Bloemfontein, 2000
Most drop goals by a player – 2 – JP Wilkinson in Perth, 2003
Biggest win – 48 (58-10) in Bloemfontein, 2007
Most points – 58 in Bloemfontein, 2007
Most tries – 8 in Pretoria, 2007
Most conversions – 7 in Bloemfontein, 2007
Most penalty goals – 6 in Pretoria, 2000
Most drop goals – 5 in Paris, 1999
Most points by a player – 34 – JH de Beer in Paris, 1999
Most tries by a player – 3 – DM Gerber in Johannesburg, 1984
Most conversions by a player – 7 – PC Montgomery in Bloemfontein, 2007
Most penalty goals by a player – 6 – AJJ van Straaten in Pretoria, 2000
Most drop goals by a player – 5 – JH de Beer in Paris, 1999