CAPE TOWN – The Springboks will be looking to roar when they face France at Loftus on Saturday.
With no fewer than seven players from the Lions in the starting XV for the clash, coach Allister Coetzee is really looking to make a fresh start this season.
Four players – fullback Andries Coetzee, wings Raymond Rhule and Courtnall Skosan and scrumhalf Ross Cronje – will all make their international debuts tomorrow, while Stormers utility back Dillyn Leyds could make his first appearance in the Green and Gold off the bench.
Of the new guys in his squad, Coetzee says: “We have gone for settled combinations and selected players for the starting XV who have trained well with us.
“They are in good form so far this season and they will be battle-ready. It is a great opportunity for our uncapped players to cement their places in the team.”
Coetzee, Skosan and Cronje are three of the Lions in the team.
Led by the king of the jungle at Ellis Park, Warren Whiteley, they are joined by flyhalf Elton Jantjies, Franco Mostert and Malcolm Marx as Coetzee finally decided to reward and back domestic form over what has worked in years gone by.
It’s a brave decision and one that might come back to bite him in the butt.
But if the Springboks do play with the same type of confidence as the Lions have over the past two seasons, they might just run wild in Pretoria.
The rest of the starting team comprises three Stormers, two Cheetahs, two Bulls and one Shark. Interestingly, the Stormers don’t have a single backline player in the starting XV, with Leyds the sole Cape back on the bench.
Stormers captain Siya Kolisi, meanwhile, will be tasked with the scavenger duty, having been selected at openside flanker, while Oupa Mohoje is perhaps the biggest surprise inclusion at No.7. Frans Malherbe and Eben Etzebeth are the other Stormers in the run-on XV.