Coenie starts at tighthead!

Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth and Morné Steyn return to the Bok starting line-up that includes Coenie Oosthuizen at tighthead prop, and Lourens Adriaanse on the bench.

The Springbok team to face France in Paris on Saturday:

15. Willie le Roux 11 caps 20 points

14. JP Pietersen 50 caps 75 points

13. Jaque Fourie 71 caps 160 points

12. Jean de Villiers (captain) 95 caps 125 points

11. Bryan Habana 94 caps 265 points

10. Morné Steyn 53 caps 625 points

9. Ruan Pienaar 73 caps 130 points

8. Duane Vermeulen 15 caps 5 points

7. Willem Alberts 29 caps 35 points

6. Francois Louw 27 caps 25 points

5. Flip van der Merwe 33 caps 5 points

4. Eben Etzebeth 23 caps 0 points

3. Coenie Oosthuizen 13 caps 10 points

2. Bismarck du Plessis (vice-captain) 56 caps 45 points

1. Tendai Mtawarira 52 caps 10 points


16. Adriaan Strauss 32 caps 25 points

17. Gurthrö Steenkamp 48 caps 30 points

18. Lourens Adriaanse 0 caps 0 points

19. Bakkies Botha 77 caps 35 points

20. Pieter-Steph du Toit 1 caps 0 points

21. Siya Kolisi 9 caps 0 points

22. Jano Vermaak 3 caps 0 points

23. Pat Lambie 31caps 65 points


Mtawarira, Etzebeth and Steyn are part of a group of 10 players who have been selected for every Test in 2013, along with Willie le Roux, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Ruan Pienaar, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss and Pat Lambie.

A further three players – Du Plessis, Flip van der Merwe and Francois Louw – each missed only one Test this season.

After an impressive performance against Scotland, Oosthuizen will be in the starting line-up for the first time after 13 appearances off the bench. He takes over at tighthead prop from the injured Frans Malherbe, with the uncapped Lourens Adriaanse coming onto the bench.

“This is a great opportunity for Coenie and we believe he’s ready to make the step up to a starting role in the team,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“I’m also very happy for Lourens, who has been part of the squad for almost the entire season. He’s waited patiently for an opportunity and what better way to make your debut than against France in Paris.”

Commenting on the return of Mtawarira, Du Plessis, Etzebeth and Steyn, as well as the inclusion of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi on the bench this week, Meyer said he had rotated the squad during the final three Tests of 2013 in order to keep the players fresh.

“Gurthrö, Adriaan, Bakkies and Pat did very well last week against Scotland and will have an important role to play this week,” said Meyer.

“We have been quite fortunate with injuries this year and I’m very happy that we’ve managed to keep the continuity in selection. Most of the players have received ample game time and showed they have what it takes to perform at Test level. Our aim is now to keep on improving against France and hopefully end a very successful season on a high note.”

The Springboks have won nine of their 11 Tests in 2013 and 12 from the past 14, including last year’s November tour. But the task of taking on Les Bleus in France is a formidable one – South Africa’s last away victory over France was in 1997 at the Parc des Princes.

South Africa and France have played twice at the Stade de France in Paris with France winning both (20-10) in 2001 and (26-20) in 2005. The Boks have scored 30 points (three tries) against 46 points (four tries) for an average of 15-23.

The Boks have played six Tests in total at this venue, winning four (England in 1999, 44-21 and twice in 2007 during the RWC, 36-0 and 15-6 in the Final) and Argentina (37-13) also during the 2007 RWC. The Boks’ last game at this venue was the 2007 RWC final against England on 20 October, 2007.