South Africa will be without Bakkies Botha for their World Cup opener against Wales in Wellington on Sunday.
The 2007 World Cup winner is suffering from "chronic Achilles tendonitis".
Danie Rossouw comes in to partner Victor Matfield in the second row, while wing Bryan Habana has shrugged off a slight injury to start.
Captain John Smit, who plays at hooker, flanker Schalk Burger, full-back Frans Steyn and prop Tendai Mtawarira are recalled after missing the last match.
"It feels like it's taken an age to get to this day," said Smit, who led the Springboks to glory in France four years ago.
"There's still a couple more days [to the game], we'll get to feel the fever.
"By the time we get to Sunday, the boys will pretty much know exactly what their purpose is in New Zealand."
The team is the most experienced XV to ever represent South Africa, with a combined caps total of 815 - surpassing the 810 caps of the team that played Australia in Durban in August.
Coach Peter de Villiers has also been able to name 11 players who were part of the 2007 World Cup winning squad.
De Villiers has gone for five forwards on the bench, including flanker Willem Alberts, who played a starring role as a substitute when South Africa fought back to beat Wales in Cardiff in 2010.
The Springboks enter the tournament on the back of a 18-5 win over hosts New Zealand in Port Elizabeth in August.
They have lost only once to Wales 25 Tests since 1906 and Habana, who needs one more touchdown to become South Africa's record-holder of 39 tries, said: "The pressure we put on ourselves as Springboks is more than anyone else puts on us.
"We want to go out there and make sure we do our country proud."
Wales will name their team later on Thursday.
South Africa: Frans Steyn; JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, John Smit (capt), Jannie du Plessis, Danie Rossouw, Victor Matfield, Heinrich Brussow, Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies.
Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Johann Muller, Willem Alberts, Francois Hougaard, Butch James.