(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus has named a Springbok team loaded with uncapped players for Saturday’s Test against Wales in Washington DC, USA.
In all, 13 of the matchday 23 are set to win their first cap, with Stormers lock-cum-flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit named as captain for the first time.
He leads out the team that have Ox Nche, Jason Jenkins, Kwagga Smith, Ivan van Zyl, Travis Ismaiel, Makazole Mapimpi, Andre Esterhuizen ready to blood in among the forwards and backs.
Erasmus will be taking charge of his first match in charge since taking over the role from Allister Coetzee earlier in 2018 following a lacklustre autumn to end last year.
Taking a 26-man squad across the Atlantic, the former Munster director of rugby said he was keen to see how the young players competed.
“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,” Erasmus said on South Africa’s official website.
“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.”
The replacements bench named by Erasmus also features six players set for their debuts in hooker Akker van der Merwe, tighthead Thomas du Toit, lock Marvin Orie, back row Sikhumbuzo Notshe, scrum-half Embrose Papier, and fly-half Robert du Preez.
South Africa meet Wales at Washington’s RFK Stadium, a 45,596-capacity ground which is the city’s former home to its football and NFL teams, DC United and Washington Redskins.
South Africa team to face Wales, Washington DC (Saturday, 2 June, 16:00 KO):
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 1 Ox Nche 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 3 Wilco Louw, 4 Jason Jenkins, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Capt), 6 Kwagga Smith, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 8 Dan du Preez
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Warrick Gelant