Sikhumbuzo Notshe will make his first start for the Springboks against the Wallabies on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Sikhumbuzo Notshe will get his first real chance to prove himself as a Springbok when he packs down at No 8 against the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Notshe was the big surprise inclusion by coach Rassie Erasmus when he announced his team on Thursday afternoon.

The Western Province loose forward comes in for Warren Whiteley, who picked up a groin injury in training earlier this week in Port Elizabeth .

Whiteley may have been due a break anyway after his outstanding performance in the 36-34 victory over the All Blacks in Wellington , and will now look to get fit for next week’s return game against New Zealand at Loftus Versfeld.

Cheslin Kolbe also gets a welcome first Test start at right wing, with Jesse Kriel moving to outside centre and André Esterhuizen coming in to partner the Bulls star in midfield, following the injuries to Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.

Erasmus opted against shifting Handre Pollard to No 12, so the Bulls pivot remains at flyhalf and Elton Jantjies will play off the bench.

Apart from Notshe, there is another new face in the pack, with Tendai Mtawarira coming back at loosehead prop for Steven Kitshoff.

Stormers No 1 Kitshoff can feel hard done by as he was superb against the All Blacks, but Erasmus may be keeping him in cotton wool for the Pretoria Test next week.

“Cheslin has been very impressive since he joined the squad a few weeks ago, and now he gets a deserved opportunity to start in a big Test,” Erasmus said.

“The same applies for Notshe, who did very well in the role of impact player during the English series. He has kept on working hard, and he deserves his opportunity in the starting team. 

“The inclusion of ‘Beast’ in the front row is a straight swop for Steven, and Jesse returns to outside centre, a position where he has played most of his Test rugby, next to André, who started in four Tests already this year.”

Youngster Damian Willemse will provide fullback cover from the bench for Saturday’s clash, which kicks off at 5pm at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Springbok Team

15 Willie le Roux 14 Cheslin Kolbe 13 Jesse Kriel 12 André Esterhuizen 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi 10 Handre Pollard 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Franco Mostert 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Malcolm Marx 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Wilco Louw 19 RG Snyman 20 Marco van Staden 21 Embrose Papier 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Damian Willemse.



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