De Villiers rings changes for Tri-Nations opener

SPRINGBOK rugby coach Peter de Villiers has made six changes to his team for their first Vodacom Tri-Nations Test for 2009 from the one that lost 28-9 to the British and Irish Lions earlier this month.

SPRINGBOK rugby coach Peter de Villiers has made six changes to his team for their first Vodacom Tri-Nations Test for 2009 from the one that lost 28-9 to the British and Irish Lions earlier this month.

There are a further six changes to the Springbok bench for the All Black Test, which kicks off at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday at 5pm.

Odwa Ndungane, Jongi Nokwe, Wynand Olivier, Morne Steyn, Ryan Kankowski and Johann Muller all started the third Test against the Lions at Coca-Cola Park on July 4, but are no longer in the starting XV.

They make way for JP Pietersen, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Ruan Pienaar, Pierre Spies and Bakkies Botha, who returns from a two-match suspension. Olivier, Steyn and Kankowski have all been included on the Springboks bench for the Test against the All Blacks.

Two Boks - De Villiers and Habana - will play in their 49th Tests for South Africa, while Fourie du Preez (47th) and Jaque Fourie (46th) are both approaching the milestone of 50 Tests for the Springboks.

Jannie du Plessis, who was not involved in the Test series against the British and Irish Lions, has been included as reserve prop on the bench.

The Springbok team is (Test caps in brackets): 15. Frans Steyn (30) 14. JP Pietersen (26) 13. Jaque Fourie (45) 12. Jean de Villiers (48) 11. Bryan Habana (48) 10. Ruan Pienaar (30) 9. Fourie du Preez (46) 8. Pierre Spies (22) 7. Juan Smith (57) 6. Heinrich Brussow (4) 5. Victor Matfield (83) - vice-captain 4. Bakkies Botha (57) 3. John Smit (84) - captain 2. Bismarck du Plessis (24) 1.

Tendai Mtawarira (13). Replacements: 16. Chiliboy Ralepelle (4) 17. Jannie du Plessis (7) 18. Danie Rossouw (38) 19. Ryan Kankowski (8) 20. Ricky Januarie (35) 21. Morne Steyn (3) 22. Wynand Olivier (22). - Sapa

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