Richie McCaw restored to the New Zealand team to face South Africa
The 32-year-old McCaw has missed the last two internationals because of injury
Bismarck du Plessis replaces Adriaan Strauss in South Africa team.
Captain Richie McCaw was restored to the New Zealand team as expected for their decisive Rugby Championship match against South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday in one of two changes to the team.
The other is prop Charlie Faumuina replacing the injured Owen Franks, ruled out of the Test at Ellis Park because of a groin injury sustained in Argentina last weekend. Dan Coles is drafted onto the bench in Faumina’s place from the team that beat the Pumas 33-15 at La Plata.
The 32-year-old McCaw has missed the last two internationals because of injury but makes a timely return for what is expected to be a keenly contested battle where his experience at the breakdown could prove decisive.
He had been scheduled to be out for longer after sustaining a knee injury against Argentina early last month but made remarkable progress in training last week and was earmarked for a return by coach Steve Hansen.
World champions New Zealand will successfully defend their Rugby Championship if they stop the Springboks from scoring four tries and winning by more than seven points.
South Africa have made two changes to the starting line-up that beat Australia 28-8 in Cape Town last weekend. Hooker Bismarck du Plessis replaces Adriaan Strauss while Juandre Kruger comes in for the suspended Flip van der Merwe.
NEW ZEALAND (v South Africa): Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea; Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read. Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Steven Luatua, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau.
SOUTH AFRICA (squad): Z Kirchner; W Le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht/J Serfontein, J de Villiers (capt), B Habana; Morne Steyn, F du Preez; D Vermeulen, W Alberts, F Louw, J Kruger, E Etzebeth; J du Plessis, B du Plessis, T Mtawarira. Replacements: A Strauss, G Steenkamp, C Oosthuizen, F van der Merwe, S Kolisi, R Pienaar, P Lambie, J Serfontein/J de Jongh.