Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says the inclusion of Elton Jantjies in the starting line-up for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against Australia does not mean that he has lost patience in Handrè Pollard.
Pollard has struggled with the boot in recent matches and Erasmus said it was always his plan to play Jantjies against Australia here at the Suncorp Stadium as part of bigger picture attempts to increase depth and experience ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“He (Handrè) knew a few weeks ago already that he was going to get two matches on the trot to find some form‚” said Erasmus after announcing the squad on Thursday.
The Bok coach has made six changes in the starting line up to the side that lost to Argentina in Mendoza last week.
“It was always our plan to give him (Jantjies) a run here in Australia and Pollard knew about this a few weeks ago already‚" he said.
"The same goes with Jesse Kriel‚ he knew that he was going to play in this game and we sent him to play a Currie Cup game.
"We also have guys like Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Thomas du Toit who we want to give opportunities in the future as part of our larger pool.
"Unfortunately‚ when you lose a game it sets you back in your planning and we could not make more than six changes because that would have been too radical.
“We are a team working towards being consistent and competitive at the World Cup next year and part of our plan is to try and win every game but also to increase depth and experience.
"Against Argentina we tried very hard to win that game and we didn’t do it.
"But even if we had won that game‚ we were still going to make changes and possibly even more.”
The other eye-catching change in the starting line-up sees Bongi Mbonambi ahead of Malcolm Marx and Erasmus said the Stormers hooker deserves his opportunity to start.
“All the matches that he started for us so far‚ we have won‚" he said.
"Obviously Malcolm (Marx) is rated as one of the top hookers in the world but we have to be fair to Bongi.
"Sometimes people tend to forget how good the guy is‚ he is a good scrummager‚ he is solid in the line-outs and he has a great work rate.
"It is going to be interesting to see how he is going to play against this experienced Australian side.”
Steven Kitshoff got the nod ahead of Tendai Mtawarira at loosehead prop also to reward him for his notable contributions mostly off the bench.
Pieter-Steph du Toit has replaced Francois Louw as part of a reshuffle of the loose forward combination.
Damian de Allende and Kriel have replaced André Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo AM respectively and the only positional change sees captain Siya Kolisi return to open side flank after he played on the opposite side of the scrum in the two matches against Argentina in Durban in Mendoza.
15. Willie le Roux‚ 14. Makazole Mapimpi‚ 13. Jesse Kriel‚ 12. Damian de Allende. 11. Aphiwe Dyantyi‚ 10. Elton Jantjies‚ 9. Faf de Klerk‚ 8. Warren Whiteley‚ 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ 6. Siya Kolisi‚ 5. Franco Mostert‚ 4. Eben Etzebeth‚ 3. Frans Malherbe‚ 2. Bongi Mbonambi‚ 1. Steven Kitshoff
16 Malcolm Marx‚ 17. Tendai Mtawarira‚ 18. Wilco Louw‚ 19. RG Snyman‚ 20. Francois Louw‚ 21. Embrose Papier‚ 22 Handré Pollard‚ 23. Cheslin Kolbe
1. Scott Sio‚ 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau‚ 3. Allan Alaalatoa‚ 4. Rory Arnold‚ 5. Adam Coleman‚ 6. Lukhan Tui‚ 7. Michael Hooper‚ 8. David Pocock‚ 9. Will Genia‚ 10. Kurtley Beale‚ 11. Marika Koroibete‚ 12. Matt Toomua‚ 13. Reece Hodge‚ 14. Dane Haylett-Petty‚ 15. Israel Folau
16. Folau Faingaa‚ 17. Tom Robertson‚ 18. Taniela Tupou‚ 19. Izack Rodda‚ 20. Ned Hanigan‚ 21. Joe Powell‚ 22. Bernard Foley‚ 23. Jack Maddocks.