De Klerk, Du Toit ruled out of final Lions test


South Africa will be without key players Pieter-Steph du Toit and Faf de Klerk when they face the British & Irish Lions on Saturday in the final test of the series.

Flanker Du Toit and scrum-half De Klerk both miss out through injury with former World Rugby Player of the Year Du Toit injuring his shoulder and De Klerk suffering from a muscle strain.

Elsewhere, Damian de Allende will become the third Springbok in this series to reach 50 test caps when he takes to the pitch.

Morne Steyn, who has been named on the bench, could earn his first cap since 2016 if he is called into action.

The injury to Du Toit means that Franco Mostert moves from the lock to the side of the scrum and Lood de Jager comes into the starting team. He will be joined by Eben Etzebeth in the second-row.

Cobus Reinach replaces De Kerk at scrum-half.

“This is a massive test for us with the Castle Lager Lions Series on the line, so it was important for us to maintain consistency in selection following on last week’s performance,” coach Jacques Nienaber said in a statement.

“Pieter-Steph du Toit was ruled out due to the shoulder injury he suffered last week, but we are fortunate to have experienced players such as Franco and Lood who can step in and who have the physical presence we need in those roles.

“Cobus is also an experienced player with a calm head and who can handle pressure, and we believe he will be able to dictate play well alongside Handré Pollard, while Herschel Jantjies has been great in adding the necessary spark we need off the bench, and will be asked to fulfil that role again.

“This group of players are among a handful of players in the history of South African rugby that have an opportunity to clinch a series against the Lions after winning the Rugby World Cup, and every player in this squad understands what a rare honour that is.

“I don’t think one needs any more motivation than that to win this weekend. We are preparing for a physical encounter and we know that every small battle will count if we want to win the series.

“This match is as important to us as it is for the Lions, so we know it is going to be tight, and we will have to capitalise on every opportunity we have to score points, and be effective in every area of our game.”

Starting XV

Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jasper Wiese, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Morne Steyn, Damian Willemse.

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