JOHANNESBURG – Young Stormers scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies is expected to make his Springbok debut in Saturday’s Test against the Wallabies at Ellis Park.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus has made no secret of the fact that the majority of the squad’s first-choice players will be sent to New Zealand this week to begin preparations for next weekend’s crunch clash against the All Blacks.
The rest of the team will head into action against the Wallabies in Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener.
In that context, No 1 scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is expected to travel overseas, leaving either Cobus Reinach or Jantjies to start against the Wallabies this Saturday.
For Reinach, who has been in such good form for his English club, it would be a first Bok appearance since 2015, while Jantjies is set to make his first Test appearance.
Erasmus will name his team on Wednesday.
“It really shows life is about opportunities, and Herschel grabbed his with both hands when he got a chance at the Stormers in Super Rugby,” Bok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said.
“Herschel played very well, and if you look at his performances this year, you will see he has been very consistent.
“He is clinical with the basic aspects. He has a good pass, and when the opportunity presents itself, he will snipe around the rucks and score tries.
“And even for his size, he makes a lot of tackles on those big forwards, so he is courageous and also a fighter.
“He is certainly has great potential, and I am glad he is part of our squad.”
Stick said that the Test at Ellis Park was expected to be yet another very competitive match between the two sides.
The game is the first of three Tests the Springboks will play in a shortened version of the 2019 Rugby Championship.
The South Africans will play the All Blacks away in Wellington next Saturday, and then face Argentina in Salta on Saturday, August 10.
According to Stick, a game between the Springboks and the Wallabies is always a big clash: “If you look at the history of games between the two sides in the Rugby Championship, then you will see it’s always a tough game.”
Meanwhile, the Boks have been training with a big squad of 39 players over the last four weeks – three at a training camp in Pretoria, and since Monday in the build-up to Saturday’s season opener in Johannesburg.
Stick reckons there are great benefits in having such a large pool of players together over an extended period of training time.