Springboks change three starters for must-win Test

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British and Irish Lions flanker Tom Curry is tackled by Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff (C) during the first Test in Cape Town last Saturday
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World champions South Africa have made three changes to the starting line-up for a must-win second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.

In come props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe and number eight Jasper Wiese in place of injured Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane and Kwagga Smith.

Nche was ruled out by a sore neck while Nyakane and Smith are among the eight replacements, where there are also changes.

Malherbe and Nyakane swap places, Vincent Koch replaces Kitshoff, flanker Marco van Staden is promoted at the expense of Rynhardt Elstadt and fly-half Elton Jantjies drops out to accommodate Smith.

After using a 5-3 forwards-backs split in the first Test, which they lost 17-22 after leading by nine points at half-time, Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has switched to a 6-2 divide.

South Africa had six forwards on the bench throughout the triumphant 2019 World Rugby Cup campaign in Japan, culminating in a big win over England in the final.

South Africa must win on Saturday to keep alive hopes of a ninth victory in 14 Test series against the tourists since they first met 130 years ago.

"This is a massive game for us -- it is do or die in order to stay in the race to win the series," said Nienaber.

"We selected a team that offers continuity, but is also best suited to achieve the objectives we have set for this match.

"Ox did well in the scrums last week and has been ruled out due to injury, but we have a world class player in Steven who can step into the starting team.

- Kitshoff's 50th Test -

"The fact that this will mark his 50th Test will make the occasion even more important for him," he said of the loosehead.

Referring to the 6-2 bench, Nienaber said: "We have had an extra week on the training field after a few disruptive weeks in the build-up to the opening Test.

"We are now confident that the players in the squad will be able to deliver on the physicality and grit that will be required in this match.

"We need to be better in every area of the game this week, and the set pieces will be crucial in laying the foundations we need to execute our game plan effectively.

"We also spoke about our discipline and the aerial battle as a team, and we intend to work as hard as possible at training this week to correct the errors that cost us last week."

Lions coach Warren Gatland has also made three changes to his run-on team with centre Chris Harris, scrum-half Conor Murray and prop Mako Vunipola replacing Elliot Daly, Ali Price and Rory Sutherland.

The final match in a series being staged behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic is also scheduled for Cape Town Stadium, on August 7.

Team (15-1)

South Africa: Willie le Roux; Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse

Coach: Jacques Nienaber (RSA)

dl/dmc

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