Fourie du Preez to captain Boks against Scotland

Coach Heyneke Meyer has made three changes to the team that beat Samoa.

FILE: Fourie du Preez. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Fourie Du Preez has been given the captain's armband ahead of the Springboks' Rugby World Cup clash against Scotland on Saturday, while Schalk Burger will serve as vice captain.

Du Preez will become the Springboks' 56th Test captain when he leads South Africa out in a must-win encounter in Pool B on Saturday.

Coach Heyneke Meyer said that losing two experienced captains in one week due to injury, namely Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield, had been a severe blow but that the squad included a number of highly capable deputies.

"Fourie has been one of the best scrumhalves in world rugby for a long time, but he also understands the game better than most players and is a tactical genius," said Meyer. "He will know exactly what is needed on Saturday when we continue our fight to keep our World Cup dream alive.

"Schalk stood in on the last occasion that Jean and Victor were both absent earlier this season before Fourie had returned to fitness. They are both great leaders who go about their work in contrasting ways and I think they will work extremely well in tandem.

"They are hugely experienced and they know what it will take to win this very important match against a great Scottish side."

Meyer has made three changes to the team that beat Samoa 46-6 in Birmingham.

Bismarck du Plessis returns to the starting line in place of Adriaan Strauss and Matfield is replaced by the young Lood de Jager who teams up with Eben Etzebeth to make up an exciting lock pairing.

The loose forwards remain the same with Burger, Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen all holding onto their starting positions.

The experienced Du Preez, who provided excellent, clean quality ball for the backs at Villa Park, will lead out the team in a rather surprising move.

His talent, skill and experience all suggest it's a good move from Meyer - although with other captaincy options in Bismarck du Plessis, who has been vice captain before, Burger, who captained the team earlier this year, and Vermeulen, who did a wonderful job leading out the Stormers in Super Rugby - it comes as a bit of a surprise.

The backline sees Handre Pollard continue at 10, with Jessie Kriel coming in for the newly retired Jean de Villiers - he partners Damian De Allende at centre. Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen and Willie Le Roux make up the rest of the backline.

Meyer said his team would have to build on their victory over Samoa on Saturday in order to stay in the hunt for a play-off spot at the Rugby World Cup.

"The performance against Samoa was much better, but Scotland have been impressive in their victories over Japan and the US.

"We know in which areas we have to improve and we will have to fire at 100% on Saturday against a motivated Scotland side. The injuries have not been ideal, but we can't do anything about that and the players selected will have to perform once again this weekend."

The match, taking place at St James' Park in Newcastle, kicks off at 5:45pm.

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