Siya Kolisi takes a selfie with Springbok fans at Loftus Versfeld this week. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Schalk Brits will captain the Springboks for the first time, while regular skipper Siya Kolisi will start at openside flank in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup warm-up clash against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.

Brits was a surprise choice as the leader of the team announced by coach Rassie Erasmus on Wednesday, as Kolisi is the recognised captain of the side.

But Erasmus explained that the Western Province loose forward will play a “cameo role” in Pretoria as he works his way back from a shoulder injury.

He returned to action for WP against the Pumas last Friday.

“I’ve asked Siya to empty his tank and go as hard for as long as he can,” Erasmus said.

“I’ve told him he might even come off in the first half. He has played less than 50 minutes of Currie Cup rugby in the last 12 weeks, but I needed him to have a taste of Test rugby again before we leave for Japan.”

The rest of the team is a brand-new one from the combination that started in the victory over Los Pumas in Salta last weekend.

Cobus Reinach will get much-needed game time as the third scrumhalf in the squad behind Faf de Klerk and Herschel Jantjies, and so too Marcell Coetzee, who will slot in at No 8.

Dillyn Leyds gets a chance to state his case for the World Cup squad at left wing, while

RG Snyman and Lood de Jager make up a formidable lock pairing.

WP hooker Scarra Ntubeni has been named on the bench, and may make his long-awaited Test debut in the second half.

The Bok coach said that Herschel Jantjies was going to play off the bench on Saturday, but took a blow to his head in training and has been withdrawn as a precautionary measure. But SA Rugby said in a statement that he will still be ready for World Cup selection.

“No matter what has happened before this weekend, the momentum we will go to the World Cup with will depend on what happens on Saturday,” Erasmus said.

“Some of these players will know they are on the plane, but for others, it is make or break – and even if they don’t make the plane, there will be six standby roles to be identified.

“We’ve picked a formidable pack and we saw what the backline did against Australia, so I am really excited to see what they can do on Saturday to prove their own case and also show just how strong South African rugby is.”

Springbok Team

15 Warrick Gelant 14 Sbu Nkosi 13 Jesse Kriel 12 André Esterhuizen 11 Dillyn Leyds 10 Elton Jantjies 9 Cobus Reinach 8 Marcell Coetzee 7 Rynhardt Elstadt 6 Siya Kolisi 5 Lood de Jager 4 RG Snyman 3 Vincent Koch 2 Schalk Brits (captain) 1 Thomas du Toit.

Bench: 16 Scarra Ntubeni 17 Lizo Gqoboka 18 Wilco Louw 19 Marvin Orie 20 Marco van Staden 21 Kwagga Smith 22 Faf de Klerk 23 Frans Steyn.

@ashfakmohamed

 

IOL Sport