CAPE TOWN – Seven uncapped players have been included in the Springbok starting line-up by coach Rassie Erasmus for Saturday’s one-off Test against Wales in Washington DC, while Elton Jantjies will call the shots on attack from flyhalf.
Pieter-Steph du Toit (32 Test caps) was confirmed as the captain, while the other experienced heads are centre Jesse Kriel (40 caps), Jantjies (23), Oupa Mohoje (18) and Chiliboy Ralepelle (23).
Erasmus has rewarded Super Rugby form in most instances, with Sharks stars Curwin Bosch, André Esterhuizen and Makazole Mapimpi, as well as Kriel, Jantjies, Ivan van Zyl, Kwagga Smith and Wilco Louw.
The Cheetahs still got a look-in despite playing in the PRO14, with Mohoje and prop Ox Nche getting the nod.
Two of the three Du Preez brothers from the Sharks are part of the match-23, with Dan starting at No 8 and Robert on the bench.
There are also six uncapped players on the bench – Akker van der Merwe (hooker), Thomas du Toit (prop), Marvin Orie (lock), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (loose forward), Embrose Papier (scrumhalf) and Robert du Preez (flyhalf) – with Erasmus keeping his probable first-choice players at home ahead of the three-Test series against England.
“As coaches, we are tremendously excited about the prospect of seeing some of our best young players getting the opportunity to play at this level,” Erasmus said on Wednesday.
“Wales have a very solid and effective kicking strategy and their cohesive forward and set-piece play are some of their main strong points. However, I do believe that we have picked a match-day squad that will be able to compete very strongly.”
The match will kick off at 11pm SA time on Saturday.
15 Curwin Bosch 14 Travis Ismaiel 13 Jesse Kriel 12 André Esterhuizen 11 Makazole Mapimpi 10 Elton Jantjies 9 Ivan van Zyl 8 Dan du Preez 7 Oupa Mohoje 6 Kwagga Smith 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit (captain) 4 Jason Jenkins 3 Wilco Louw 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle 1 Ox Nche.
Bench: 16 Akker van der Merwe 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Thomas du Toit 19 Marvin Orie 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe 21 Embrose Papier 22 Robert du Preez 23 Warrick Gelant.