South Africa coach Allister Coetzee has made a tactical change for Saturday’s decisive Test against Ireland by naming winger Ruan Combrinck in his starting lineup.
“Ruan gives us the option of a right-footed kicker which we don’t have in the team to counter Ireland’s tactic of kicking down our left-hand side,” Coetzee told a news conference on Thursday ahead of the third test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“He also brings us the option of an additional long-range goal kicker plus he showed great form last week.”
Combrinck made his debut as a halftime substitute in the second Test and his running proved a catalyst for a superb comeback as the Springboks came from 16 points down to win 32-26 last Saturday.
That result ensured they avoided losing the series after Ireland had won 26-20 in the first Test at Newlands. Combrinck replaces Lwazi Mvovo, who drops to the bench.
Coetzee has also handed a start to number eight Warren Whiteley, another player who made a big impact off the bench last Saturday, for the injured Duane Vermeulen.
French-based prop Steven Kitshoff and Lions flank Jaco Kriel are on the bench for the first time.
“It’s the end of Ireland’s season and they will come hard at us,” said Coetzee.
“They know they have just one chance but we are up for any test that comes our way this weekend. There will be something new from the Irish I’m sure. They have quite a clever coaching group but we are prepared.
“I think Ireland might be looking at regaining possession much more than kicking it deep. Territory will determine the result and we’ll have to be on the look out for that.
“I think they will have to have a go more than in the previous two tests and keep more ball in hand. This test will be fought right down in the trenches again but we have the skill to contest, both in open and broken field play,” added the Springbok coach.
Team: Willie le Roux, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Damian de Allende, JP Pietersen, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk; Warren Whiteley, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Julian Redelinghuys, Francois Mostert, Jaco Kriel, Rudy Paige, Morne Steyn, Lwazi Mvovo