Injuries were cited as the reason for most of the changes in the Springbok team named on Wednesday, with coach Peter de Villiers trying his best to look on the bright side of a tricky situation.
De Villiers said they could take positives from the changes, some of which were made as part of the squad's rotation policy, but most of which were due to injuries to key players.
The Bok coach explained that captain John Smit had an opportunity to work with some of the younger players, while others would get some much needed game time.
"We have a few injuries and everything works for the good, so I think it is a brilliant opportunity for John to blood in some of the other players," De Villiers said.
"One of the fears that we face is that some of the players did not play in a very long time."
Included in the last line of defence was young Patrick Lambie who has only recently recovered from a shoulder injury. His recovery was, however, not as hasty as that of Bakkies Botha.
According to a medical assessment made on Monday, Botha was not responding well to treatment, but he nonetheless replaced Victor Matfield in the starting line-up.
The Boks lost Matfield to a hamstring injury, and possibly Johann Muller, who was to undergo a late fitness test, which left South Africa in crises as far as second-row forwards were concerned.
The Springbok coach defended his decision to field Botha, who missed their opening game.
"We will never take risks with players, especially when their lives are at stake," De Villiers said.
"Throughout the World Cup there will be niggles in each of the squads."
Apart from Matfield, team management said backs Butch James (hip flexor), Jean de Villiers (rib cartilage) and Bryan Habana (patella tendon) were all unavailable for selection due to injury.
If Muller, who was named on the bench, was unable to play, he would be replaced by Francois Louw.
In the changes to the backline Odwa Ndungane will step into the left wing berth in place of Habana, Lambie is set to start at fullback, and Francois Steyn has moved forward to fill De Villiers' inside centre berth.
By selecting Steyn in the No.12 jersey, the title holders have gone back to what worked so well for them at the previous World Cup.
De Villiers said he included the Racing Metro centre to beef up the team's midfield defence, which looked vulnerable at times during their opening match.
"We can't allow for the same thing like on Sunday when that channel [in midfield] was exposed on defence," De Villiers said.
"We need a strong guy there to stop it and not give them any momentum. You look at the opposition and see what the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents are, and you look at what they offer to us," he added.
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