Influential Lions lock Franco Mostert hasn’t been dropped because he’s slacked off a bit in recent weeks.
Springboks coach Allister Coetzee gave that guarantee on Thursday after not including the 26-year-old in the match squad for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Perth.
Instead, team management are merely looking out for his well-being.
“Franco has played an enormous amount of rugby – at Super Rugby level, playing club rugby in Japan and starting all of our Test matches so far this year,” said Coetzee.
“We have to be sensible in managing the workload of certain players such as Franco. We are fortunate to have a number of very good locks. Pieter-Steph now gets an opportunity to start again. We know what he is capable of.”
Du Toit has indeed shrugged off a lukewarm to his Super Rugby campaign with the Stormers by delivering two storming performances as a replacement against Argentina.
The real question is whether Lood de Jager, who squeezes in on the bench, will add value.
The Bulls line-out man continues to find form elusive since the 2015 World Cup and hasn’t played competitive rugby in some while.
Coetzee has relied heavily on a dynamic bench in the Springboks’ unbeaten 2017 and surely De Jager will have to pull up his socks.
The same can be said of Handre Pollard.
His return has been a talking point all week as many have marvelled over his physical condition.
But like De Jager, he hasn’t played in ages.
“I am really satisfied with the way he has trained till now and it’s great for the team to have a player of his calibre on the bench,” said Coetzee.
In one other change, the steady Ross Cronje is back to partner Elton Jantjies at halfback.
Springboks: Andries Coetzee, Raymond Rhule, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Uzair Cassiem, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Coenie Oosthuizen, Malcolm Marx, Beast Mtawarira. Bench: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Jean-Luc du Preez, Francois Hougaard, Handre Pollard, Damian de Allende.