Springbok Head Coach Jacques Nienaber has named his squad of 23 to take on Georgia on Friday evening.
Much intrigue will surround the performance of the 3 debutants in Rosko Specman, Aphelele Fassi and barnstorming number 8, Japser Wiese.
It will be the Springboks’ first test since the 2019 World Cup final and will mark Nienaber’s first in charge since taking over from Rassie Erasmus.
12 of the players who featured in the World Cup final will run out in the starting XVagainst the Georgians.
We have selected the best team with an eye on what we would like to achieve in this Test against Georgia and we believe that we have a good balance with a number of experienced campaigners and a few young players who have made a strong statement this season,” Nienaber said.
“Most of the players in this squad are Rugby World Cup winners, while others have been part of the national squad for a few seasons, and this will be invaluable against a team that boast the passion that Georgia exhibit.
“We are also excited to see what the uncapped players bring to the table after impressive performances for their franchises in the last few seasons. Each one of them has proved that they deserve an opportunity at this level, and the commitment and enthusiasm they displayed at training has been striking.
“We are expecting Georgia to come out guns blazing with their passionate and physical rugby, so we need to find our rhythm early on and build up a good 80-minute performance.
“We know how big this challenge will be, but it is vital that we build a solid foundation in the next two Tests in order to refine our skill set, match readiness and ability to perform under pressure.”
15. Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 61 caps, 60 pts (12 t)
14. Rosko Specman (Toyota Cheetahs) – uncapped
13. Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 46 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12. Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 67 caps, 141 pts (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)
11. Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks) – uncapped
10. Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 48 caps, 457 pts (6t, 74c, 89p, 4d)
9. Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 14 caps, 30 pts (6t)
8. Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 6 caps, 0 pts
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers) – 55 caps, 25 pts (5t)
6. Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 50 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5. Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 39 caps, 5 pts (1t)
4. Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 85 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 42 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 36 caps, 35 pts (7t)
1. Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 1 cap, 0 pts
- Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 33 caps, 25 pts (5t)
- Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers – 47 caps, 5 pts (1t)
- Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers – 38 caps, 5 pts (1t)
- Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 3 caps, 0 pts
- Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – uncapped
- Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 10 caps, 20 pts (4t)
- Elton Jantjies (Pau) – 37 caps, 281 pts (2t, 62c, 49p)
- Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 5 pts (1t)