Springboks make 5 changes for Namibia in World Cup
Updated: September 19, 2011, 17:04
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TAUPO, New Zealand(AP) South Africa again kept changes to a minimum in making only five for the World Cup match against Namibia in Auckland on Thursday.
Tighthead prop CJ van der Linde, utility forward Willem Alberts, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and winger Gio Aplon received their first starts of the tournament in the team named on Tuesday.
Star winger Bryan Habana recovered from a knee injury to be recalled, as the Springboks stayed consistent to sticking to their core.
For the opening match against Wales, won 17-16, the Boks made only five changes to the side which beat New Zealand in the Tri-Nations, then changed only four to the starting lineup for Fiji, which was beaten 49-3.
After Namibia, the weakest side in Pool D, the Boks face Samoa.
Coach Peter de Villiers defended his decision not to make more wholesale changes against a Namibia side they should rout.
"We have to manage our players sensibly if we want to have 30 players fit when we get to the proper tough games,'' de Villiers said.
"Managing the players and changing the team every week is two things. I said I'm going to manage the players. I didn't say that every week everybody else would play. Along the line we'll have to manage (captain) John (Smit), too.''
Smit has appeared in all six of their tests this year, the starting hooker in five of them.
With Victor Matfield still out injured, Smit will earn his 109th cap for South Africa to move ahead of Matfield and become the Springboks' sole appearance record-holder.
Van der Linde was in for Jannie du Plessis and Alberts replaced Heinrich Brussow in the only changes in the forwards.
Hougaard, taking over from Fourie du Preez, will start for the Springboks for the first time since the loss to Scotland last November.
Back on the wings were Bryan Habana and Gio Aplon, replacing JP Pietersen and Odwa Ndungane.
In the reserves, Chiliboy Ralepelle was included in a match 22 for the first time for Bismarck du Plessis, who was also rested.
Habana has recovered from a knee injury against Wales.
De Villiers said Habana was not picked because he'd have an easier shot at claiming the Springboks' test tries record to himself. With 38 tries, he shares it with the long-retired Joost van der Westhuizen.
"Bryan brings some energy to the team. He's a bundle of energy. I'm glad to give him a run again,'' de Villiers said.
"If you can give me one player on this team that will put his interests above the interests of the team, then today I will personally send him home. If he gets his record-breaking try and we lose the game, what does it mean to the team, and what does it mean at all to be here?''
Injured locks Matfield (hamstring) and Johann Muller (hamstring), flyhalf Butch James (hip) and center Jean de Villiers (rib) weren't available.
South Africa: Pat Lambie, Gio Aplon, Jaque Fourie, Frans Steyn, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard; Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger, Willem Alberts, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, CJ van der Linde, John Smit (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp. Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Tendai Mtawarira, Francois Louw, Heinrich Brussow, Fourie du Preez, Ruan Pienaar, Juan de Jongh.