SPRINGBOKS COACH Peter de Villiers has once again tinkered with his team ahead of the must-win clash against the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth this Saturday.
The Rugby World Cup holders are desperate for a competition win, otherwise they will head into the global tournament with no momentum and an 0-4 record.
Still, that hasn’t stopped De Villiers from making five changes to his side, with the biggest coming at first five and hooker.
Morne Steyn’s conservative game in the No 10 jersey has won out, with Butch James relegated to the bench.
Steyn had a ‘mare of a game against the All Blacks in Wellington three weeks ago, with some questioning whether he would be picked for the RWC.
De Villiers, however, is sticking by his man.
“Butch is a brilliant flyhalf, but hey, I might be wrong , but to me the Rugby World Cup will be dictated by kicks and we sit with a 90 percent kicker in our country,” he says.
"How will we know what stuff we need to work on with Morne if we don't play him with the best players, and work on the little stuff we know can make a difference. Our play differs so much to the way the Bulls play, so I can't disqualify him for just doing his job overseas in the Tri Nations without players he knows.
"He needs to be assessed with guys around him that he is comfortable with, and he has not had a chance to play with the top Boks for six months, so this was not a difficult choice and the right one."
At hooker, Bismarck du Plessis has come in for John Smit.
De Villiers backed his under-siege skipper Smit, saying he deserved a rest after playing the first three Tri Nations matches which all ended in defeat.
Smit is part of a reserves bench that features five forwards.
"John is ready for the Rugby World Cup – he came good in the Tri Nations. If you look at how he played in Sydney in the first test... well he improved each match. We have achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve with him in giving him three full games to get back into the groove,” says De Villiers.
Loosehead prop Gurthrö Steenkamp, blindside flanker Willem Alberts and fullback Patrick Lambie are the other changes.
Lock Victor Matfield will lead the side in Smit’s absence.
South Africa: Patrick Lambie, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Willem Alberts, Heinrich Brussow, Victor Matfield (c), Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp
Reserves: John Smit, Tendai Mtawarira, CJ van der Linde, Danie Rossouw, Ashley Johnson, Francois Hougaard, Butch James
This weekend throws up another set of games which could go either way.
Which player was unlucky not to make the Wallabies’ preliminary squad for the British and Irish Lions series?