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Handre Pollard to make daunting debut against New Zealand

Rookie South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard faces a tough examination of his Test credentials against New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday.

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The 20-year-old has just three Test outings under his belt as he lines up to face the All Blacks and is the only change to a Springbok team still smarting from their last-gasp 24-23 loss to Australia in their last Rugby Championship outing in Perth.

He replaces veteran Morne Steyn who has been left out of the 23-man squad entirely after a poor performance against the Wallabies, capped by his failure to find touch with a late penalty that led to Australia's match-winning try.

In announcing his team, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer expressed faith in Pollard's abilities and pointed out the young pivot"s familiarity with New Zealand conditions, after the a starring role there during the Junior World Championships earlier this year.

"We felt that Handre has the right skill set for how we want to approach this game," Meyer said.

"He played well in the three Tests that he started. A couple of months ago, he was named the World Junior Player of the Year after some very impressive performances here for the Junior Springboks and I'm sure he can build on that."

The All Blacks also have a changed at fly-half with Dan Carter now looking doubtful for the rest of the Rugby Championship. It had been expected that the that 100-Test veteran might at least make New Zealand's trip to Argentina and South Africa later this month.

"Dan's tracking really well and I doubt we'll see him in the Rugby Championship," assistant coach Ian Foster said.

"But he's on track but we'll see what happens in the next week or two. But he'll certainly be coming back to play some rugby soon at some stage."

Beauden Barrett started at fly-half for the All Blacks in last Saturday's 28-9 win over Argentina in Napier, with Aaron Cruden having been rested due to a pectoral injury.

It showed the All Blacks' depth of talent in playing their third-choice pivot - who led the side well despite experiencing goal-kicking problems. However, Cruden has recovered well and has been restored to the All Black side to face the Boks at Westpac Stadium.

"It's feeling a lot stronger," Cruden said of his pectoral. "It's feeling a lot better than it did say a week ago.

"I think in terms of last week's game, the right call was made, and we need to be wise in that respect again this week."

This is the 88th time in history that the All Blacks will face the Springboks but for South Africa captain Jean De Villiers it marks a 100th Test in the green and gold.

The 33-year-old De Villiers will become the 34th Test player to reach this milestone and the fourth South African, with two Bok centurions on the field with him in the most-capped Springbok of all time, Victor Matfield (114 caps) and Bryan Habana (100), who reached his milestone last weekend against Australia in Perth.

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