NORTH AND CO PREPARE TO FACE ROOKIE SPRINGBOKS
WALES will face a rookie South Africa side in their Test match in Washington on Saturday after South Africa named 13 uncapped players in their matchday squad – seven in the atarting XV
The inexperienced team will be captained by lock Pieter-Steph du Toit in former Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus’ first game as Springboks coach.
Wings Travis Ismaiel and Makazole Mapimpi, centre Andre Esterhuizen, scrum-half Ivan van Zyl, flanker Kwagga Smith, second-row Jason Jenkins and prop Ox Nche will all be making their debuts this weekend against Warren Gatland’s side.
A further six players with no Test experience have been included on the bench, with hooker Akker van der Merwe, prop Thomas du Toit, lock Marvin Orie, back-rower Sikhumbuzo Notshe, scrum-half Embrose Papier and fly-half Robert du Preez all likely to make their first appearances in a green jersey.
It was already known that South Africa would not be bringing many of their big hitters, with the likes of Willie le Roux, Francois Steyn, Tendai Mtawarira and Duane Vermeulen among 17 star names left behind to prepare for the three-Test series against England.
In fact, this new-look Springbok side has a total of just 159 caps between them, with the majority of the experience in this South African side coming from first-time skipper du Toit, fly-half Elton Jantjies and centre Jesse Kriel.
Speaking about his first selection as coach, Erasmus said: “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.
“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.”
South Africa team to face
Wales: Curwin Bosch (Sharks); Travis Ismaiel (Bulls), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Andre Esterhuizen (Sharks), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks); Elton Jantjies (Lions), Ivan van Zyl (Bulls); Ox Nche (Cheetahs), Chilliboy Ralepelle (Sharks), Wilco Louw (Stormers), Jason Jenkins (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers, capt), Kwagga Smith (Lions), Oupa Mohoje (Cheetahs), Dan du Preez (Sharks)Reps: Akker van der Merwe (Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Marvin Orie (Lions), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers), Embrose Papier (Bulls), Robert du Preez (Sharks), Warrick Gelant (Bulls).
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> Elton Jantjies