Lood de Jager, who was ruled out last time due to concussion, is recalled for Marvin Orie while Kwagga Smith is promoted from the replacements in place of the benched Franco Mostert.
The Springboks coach has also decided to reconfigure the shape of his bomb squad bench, going for a split of five forwards and three backs on this occasion rather than the usual six/two split. Following criticism of the excluded Damian Willemse, Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn are the new players amongst the replacements.
With Jasper Wiese’s fate yet to be decided following a delay in his disciplinary hearing for foul play at a ruck versus the Wallabies, the Springboks decided to go with one forward less in reserve given that the dropped Mostert can cover both back row and lock. Meanwhile, Cheslin Kolbe (wing) is still recovering from the knock he took to the leg before the first Test against Australia but could be available for round six of the Championship.
“It’s always a massive task to face the All Blacks,” said Nienaber. “They have skilful players who thrive on turnover ball and who know how to capitalise on point-scoring opportunities, so we know that we need to deliver a quality 80-minute performance against them to turn the corner after two disappointing defeats.
“Experience will be vital to ensure that we remain focused and calm throughout the match, and players such as Elton and Frans will bring that when they take the field. They have both played and won against the All Blacks, but they will also bring a set of different skills.
“Lood also boasts 51 Test caps, which will be valuable in this match, while has Kwagga has faced them before as well, which gives us a chance to give Franco a well-deserved opportunity to be managed carefully this week after a physically taxing load since the season started. Both Elton and Frans have been training very well. They have also been in our structures for years and have performed well for the team in high-pressure matches, so we are keen to see what dynamic they will bring to the game.”