South Africa head coach has included 3 debutants in a much changed side for Saturday’s must-win game against Wales.
Most notably, Bryan Habana has not been included in the squad, prompting questions to be asked about Coetzee’s selection, as Habana is dropped for the first time in his career when fit, being replaced by uncapped Jamba Ulengo on the wing.
Habana returned from injury last week in the historic loss to Italy in Florence, albeit he did score the opening try. South Africa come to Wales having won just 4 out of 11 tests in 2016, their worst post-apartheid record.
Coetzee claimed that this wasn’t the end of Habana’s international career, as he approaches Victor Matfield’s record of 127 caps, but was intended as a changing of the guard before the Rugby World Cup 2019.
“I would not go as far as saying it is the end for him. He has not just got a role to play on the field, but a massive role off it for South African rugby. Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and necessity to build towards 2019.”
Other debuts are given to Rohan Janse van Rensburg; who is starting in the centre instead of Damien de Allende, and in the back-row Willem Alberts is replaced by Uzair Cassiem.
The other change in the forward pack is enforced, with Eben Etzebeth ruled out through injury. A new look backline sees the return of Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies at 9 and 10 respectively, while Willie le Roux loses his place to Johan Goosen.
With Wales picking a strong team and South African rugby currently at an all time low, Saturday is set to be a fantastically competitive game.
South Africa Team to Play Wales: Johan Goosen; Ruan Combrinck, Francois Venter, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jamba Ulengo; Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk; Tendai Mtawariri, Adriaan Strauss (c), Lourens Adriaanse, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Lood de Jager, Nizaam Carr, Uzair Cassiem, Warren Whiteley.
Substitutes: Malcolm Marx, teven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Franco Mostert, Jean-Luc du Preez, Piet van Zyl, Pat Lambie, Lionel Mapoe.
Oscar Reilly, Pundit Arena