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Boks face acid Test in Dublin

Veteran prop Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, and tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen, come back into the starting line-up, replacing Steven Kitshoff and Ruan Dreyer respectively.

The Springboks. Picture: Twitter @Springboks.

JOHANNESBURG - The Springboks face Ireland in their first end-of-year tour fixture on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

On Thursday, coach Allister Coetzee announced a 23-man squad that featured three changes from their last Rugby Chaampionship match against New Zealand, which they lost by a point margin in Cape Town in October.

Veteran prop Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, and tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen, come back into the starting line-up, replacing Steven Kitshoff and Ruan Dreyer respectively.

Oosthuizen has recovered from an arm fracture that he sustained in the 23-all draw against the Wallabies in Perth in September.

The other change in the run-on side sees centre Damien de Allende come in for Jan Serfontein, who has joined his new club Montpellier in France.

The Boks will come up against an experienced Irish side that will still be smarting after their 2-1 series defeat to the Boks in June 2016.

Coetzee says that his side cannot underestimate the Irish.

“Ireland are a tough side to play and we cannot underestimate them in any way.”

New Zealand-born, and former Chiefs centre, Bundee Aki will make his Irish debut in midfield alongside Robbie Henshaw.

Coetzee also said that continuity was key in his selection process for the match against Ireland.

“Continuity has been important for us, and this group of players has been together now for close to 8 months and I have seen how this group has grown together.”

Other international matches to look forward to on Saturday include England taking on Argentina at Twickenham, Australia battle Wales in Cardiff and the All Blacks have a crunch encounter with France in Paris.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm South African time.

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