Springboks make three changes for All Blacks clash

Springboks head coach Allister Coetzee is preparing his side to go "80-plus minutes" in a bid to beat the notoriously fast-finishing All Blacks at Albany on Saturday.

Announcing his 23 for the Rugby Championship clash in Auckland on Thursday, Coetzee confirmed three changes to the side which battled to a 23-23 draw with Australia in Perth last weekend.

Sharks flanker Jean-Luc du Preez will take the No 7 jersey vacated after Jaco Kriel's injury, while at tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer got the nod to replace the injured Coenie Oosthuizen to allow Trevor Nyakane to retain his impact player role off the bench.

The other change to the starting side is the return of first-choice lock Franco Mostert after Pieter-Steph du Toit was rotated in alongside captain Eben Etzebeth to face the Wallabies.

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A young and rejuvenated South African side scored 13 unanswered points to start the second half in Perth and edge ahead by three, only to be denied victory by a 71st-minute penalty from Australian No 10 Bernard Foley.

Coetzee felt it was vital his team were able to go as deep as was necessary if they were to defeat a New Zealand side who have developed a knack of overcoming their rivals in the final quarter, as proven by last weekend's 39-22 win against Argentina.

"Not 80, [we must go] 80-plus.

"You can never allow lapses in concentration, especially five minutes before halftime and five minutes after.

"The boys are fit enough to go for 80. The game has completely changed ... we're looking for a 23-man effort, it's never a 15-man game any more. Those guys off the bench, 16 to 23, must be equally as organised and prepared.

"But I must say we've had a fantastic week of preparation."

Specifically, Coetzee said, that has involved their anticipation of a typically physical All Blacks-Springboks clash.

After they were tested by "creativity in running lines" by the Wallabies last week, the South African coach was almost certain what loomed as a crucial clash in the context of the competition would be won at the gain line.

What that preparation didn't involve, though, was too much of a reflection on the past. Especially last year.

New Zealand cantered to a 41-13 triumph in Christchurch in the first Rugby Championship game between the two sides last year, before handing the Springboks an embarrassing 57-15 hammering on their home turf in Durban a couple of weeks later.

The results came during a forgettable year for the proud rugby nation, something they have already gone some way to changing this year with three straight wins against France and two on the bounce over Argentina.

"What we've done, we've actually really buried 2016 as deep as possible and moved on," Coetzee said.

"This is a completely different team environment. It's different individuals in terms of why they are Springboks and what they represent. The mindset is completely different.

"To manage the moods of millions is never easy but it comes with the job and I'm just pleased we have changed it in a way."

As for another piece of unfavourable recent past, Coetzee took a similar view.

One has to go back eight years and seven tests to find the Springboks last win against the All Blacks on Kiwi soil.

But for Coetzee, that history was just that. All they could do was ready themselves as best as possible for the sizeable task at hand.

"We always look at new opportunities and we're excited about Saturday. It's great to hear they [have] selected their strongest side, that's all lovely but it comes down to Saturday's 80 minutes ... we are well prepared for a hell of a test."

SPRINGBOKS: Andries Coetzee, Raymond Rhule, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Uzair Cassiem, Jean-Luc du Preez, Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth (c), Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit , Francois Hougaard, Handre Pollard, Damian de Allende.


 - Stuff