LONDON (Reuters) - Lock forward Eben Etzebeth has taken his place in an unchanged South Africa side for Saturday’s test against England at Twickenham after being cleared of eye gouging in last weekend’s match against Scotland.
Coach Heyneke Meyer, whose team have already beaten Ireland and Scotland, stuck with a winning combination on Wednesday for the final match of the Springboks’ northern hemisphere tour with Etzebeth retaining his place in the second row.
“I probably think he’s close to being one of the best locks in the world,” Meyer told a news conference at the team’s hotel.
“He’s really grown as an individual and he’s one of the enforcers in our team, so it’s great to have him.”
Experienced winger JP Pietersen and prop Gurthro Steenkamp were also named in the South African team after overcoming niggling injuries.
In the reserves, prop Pat Cilliers replaces the injured CJ van der Linde while flyhalf Morne Steyn is out of the matchday squad altogether. Elton Jantjies has been selected instead.
“I really want the guys to dig deep, I need one more great performance out of them,” Meyer said.
”They always lift themselves for England but I must say, I am worried. I can see the guys...mentally, it’s been a really long season.
“But knowing these guys, they will stand up to the challenge. They are warriors and they want to play for their country.”
South Africa: 15-Zane Kirchner, 14-JP Pietersen, 13-Juan de Jongh, 12-Jean de Villiers (captain), 11-Francois Hougaard, 10-Pat Lambie, 9-Ruan Pienaar, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Willem Alberts, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Juandre Kruger, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Adriaan Strauss, 1-Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16-Schalk Brits, 17-Heinke van der Merwe, 18-Pat Cilliers 19-Flip van der Merwe, 20-Marcell Coetzee, 21-Elton Jantjoes, 22-Jaco Taute, 23-Lwazi Mvovo.
Editing by John Mehaffey