South Africa recall eight World Cup winners for crunch third Test against Wales
After making 14 changes for the second Test, when Wales claimed a first victory on South African soil, Nienaber has reverted to a tried and tested formula.
World Cup captain Siya Kolisi is back for the Cape Town showdown, alongside players like wing Cheslin Kolbe, centre Damian De Allende and lock Lood De Jager.
Only fly-half Handre Pollard, scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse, prop Trevor Nyakane, lock Eben Etzebeth – who wins his 100th cap – and flanker Pieter-Steph Du Toit remain from Bloemfontein last weekend.
Etzebeth becomes the seventh Springboks player to clock up a century of Test appearances, following Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana, Tendai Mtawarira, John Smit, Jean De Villiers and Percy Montgomery.
Eleven of Saturday’s line-up in Cape Town, meanwhile, started when South Africa beat England to be crowned world champions three years ago.
‘Best for this specific game’
“We selected a team and player combinations that we think will be the best for this specific game,” said Nienaber, who has named six forwards and just two backs on the replacements’ bench.
“We had an honest discussion with the players telling them what we require from them this weekend and what we would like to see in terms of their performance, and hopefully they can produce the goods and we can get the desired result.
“We have high standards as a team and we would like to maintain that and build momentum with a challenging season lying ahead.
“Wales have shown over the years and in the last two matches that they are real fighters, and it will require a top-class performance from us on Saturday to register a victory and ultimately clinch the series.
“We pointed out from the outset of the series that Wales will be desperate – and they showed that in the last two weeks.
“We are expecting another hard grind against them, and the fact that they will be playing for their first series victory ever in South Africa will make them even more desperate to push us to the limit this weekend, so we know it will be an epic battle.
“That said, we are also playing in what is essentially a final for us, and we know that we need to pitch up on the day and deliver a quality 80-minute performance to emerge victorious.
Team: D Willemse; C Kolbe, L Am, D De Allende, M Mapimpi; H Pollard, J Hendrikse; T Nyakane, B Mbonambi, F Malherbe, E Etzebeth, L De Jager, S Kolisi (capt), P-S Du Toit, J Wiese.
Replacements: M Marx, S Kitshoff, V Koch, F Mostert, K Smith, E Louw, F De Klerk, W Le Roux.
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Think this may be a bridge too far for us unfortunately. I’m expecting a few more players to be ruled out due to injury.
But with the pride and passion they’ve shown so far, who knows
The last ten games have gone 6 to Wales and 4 to SA. I can’t think of any of these players who haven’t lost to Wales before. Have faith.