Springbok captain Siya Kolisi is delighted to see his provincial teammate who also hails from the Eastern Cape, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, starting at No 8.
Notshe has only played off the bench so far, and will be eager to make an impression against the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
But a bit of over-exuberance could lead to errors, though, and Kolisi says the presence of Pieter-Steph du Toit at No 7 will add the required balance at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“I’m really happy for him. It’s unfortunate that Wazza (Warren Whiteley) got hurt at training, but Sikhumbuzo’s been waiting for quite a while,” Kolisi said.
“I know he’s excited, and this is as close as he will get to his home town (King William’s Town), and his family will come through.
“He is a different kind of player – he loves playing ball-in-hand, and it’s awesome that we’ve got a guy like Pieter-Steph, who has been immense for us this season.
“He has been consistent every single weekend, and that will take a lot of pressure off Notshe, and off me as well. We are similar players, we are hard workers, myself and Pieter.
“We will allow Notshe to be as free as possible, so that he can play the role that he wants to play.”
But as the openside flank, Kolisi is wary of the twin breakdown threat of Wallaby captain Michael Hooper and his lieutenant David Pocock.
The Bok No 6 noted that the latter didn’t feature in the 23-18 defeat to the Wallabies in Brisbane a few weeks ago.
The South Africans have opted for the “power” strategy at the rucks of cleaning out fetchers such as the Aussie duo, and generally it has worked so far – although they haven’t faced the master Pocock in 2018 yet.
“The breakdown is going to be vital, and they have two opensides, which they didn’t have the last time,” Kolisi said on Friday.
“Ned (Hanigan, blindside flank) is a lineout option, (Kurtley) Beale has done well at 10, and whoever can dominate upfront will have the upper hand in the game as both backlines are good and need a proper platform to attack from.
“We know what we want to do tomorrow.”@ashfakmohamed