Ruan Combrinck coming in on the right wing with JP Pietersen shifting to the left is a tactical masterstroke by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
It will force Ireland to rethink their strategy big time.
Being one of the best exponents of the art of high-ball catching in the country, Pietersen’s presence down the left touchline will neutralise the up-and-under kicks Ireland forced on Lwazi Mvovo in Johannesburg last weekend.
And with Combrinck, also a big strong winger, coming in on the right he will provide the Boks with an extra kicking option at goal and also a right boot that they currently lack in the team.
Jaco Kriel is finally “in the mix” having been selected on the bench and if Francois Louw has yet another lethargic game, Kriel might be the catalyst to spark the Springboks’ fire off the bench.
The number of rookies on the wood, Kriel, Bongi Mbonambi and Steven Kitshoff – all of them yet to make their debuts – should be of concern if the game is tight at the 60-minute mark.
Port Elizabeth is not the Highveld and you can expect the Irish to have a little more gas left in their tank than what they had in last week’s match at Ellis Park.
Coetzee, though, didn’t have much choice in bringing in the guys, so don’t expect unforced changes if the game is tight as the final whistle nears.