England-based Louw returns to Springboks lineup

The Rugby Championship
AFP
by AFP

England-based Francois Louw will be the third number eight to start for South Africa in three Tests when they face New Zealand Saturday in a Rugby Championship final-round match.

Warren Whiteley filled the role in the stunning away triumph over New Zealand in Wellington last month.

But an injury ruled him out of the win over Australia in Port Elizabeth last weekend and Sikhumbuzo Notshe took his place in the middle of the back row.

Louw, who has won most of his 61 Springbok caps as a flanker, has been in and out of the team this year as coach Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus experiments with his loose forwards.

"Francois has a lot of experience and is good on the ground," Erasmus said after naming a team showing three changes from that which started against Australia.

"Sikhumbuzo played well against the Wallabies last weekend and will offer us something different when he comes on."

The other changes to the starting side for the Pretoria Test involve recalls for fit-again Damian de Allende at inside centre and Steven Kitshoff at loosehead prop.

De Allende replaces Andre Esterhuizen, who drops out of the matchday 23, and Kitshoff takes the place of Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira, now a replacement.

In a change on the bench, England-based tighthead prop Vincent Koch, brought back last month after several seasons in the international wilderness, is preferred to Wilco Louw. 

"Vincent has learnt a lot from playing in northern hemisphere conditions and I am sure he is very keen to pull on the green and gold jersey again," said Erasmus.

Fullback Willie le Roux, a Springbok discard recalled by Erasmus when he succeeded sacked Allister Coetzee this year, is set to win his 50th cap.

"Willie has grown immensely since making his debut five years ago and his calm influence at the back, as well as his experience, will be vital this Saturday."

Although the match is a 'dead rubber' after New Zealand clinched the title last weekend, a sell-out 52,000 crowd will watch the latest episode in one of the great rugby rivalries.

New Zealand named their team earlier on Thursday, with skipper Kieran Read returning to the lineup.

South Africa hosts the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on Sunday October 7 AEST, kicking off at 1:05am, LIVE on FOX SPORTS. 

TEAM

1. Steven Kitshoff

2. Malcolm Marx

3. Frans Malherbe

4. Eben Etzebeth

5. Franco Mostert

6. Siya Kolisi

7. Pieter-Steph Du Toit

8. Francois Louw

9. Faf de Klerk

10. Handre Pollard

11. Aphiwe Dyantyi

12. Damian de Allende

13. Jesse Kriel

14. Cheslin Kolbe

15. Willie le Roux

Reserves

16. Bongi Mbonambi

17. Tendai Mtawarira

18. Vincent Koch

19. RG Snyman

20. Sikhumbuzo Notshe

21. Embrose Papier

22. Elton Jantjies

23. Damian Willemse