(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus has named three debutants in his squad to face England at Ellis Park on Saturday.
For the first match of a three-Test series, Bulls lock RG Snyman will make his maiden appearance in a Springboks shirt alongside Gloucester-bound Franco Mostert. While the finishing touch of Sbu Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi will be available on both wings.
The match will mark a historic point in the history of post-Apartheid South Africa with openside flanker Siya Kolisi set to become the first ever black player to captain the Springboks, and is one of seven black players named in the starting line-up.
The selection is subject to change, however, with Erasmus sweating on the fitness of tighthead prop Trevor Nyakane who is nursing a rib injury, which has forced the Spingboks head coach to put Wilco Louw on standby to start.
Hoping to get off to a winning start after a drab 22-20 loss to Wales in Washington DC last weekend, the former Munster director of rugby is anticipating a competitive series between two nations seeking to overturn shaky form.
“England are a top-class, quality side and they will do doubt be very determined to be successful in this series, and with us desperate for success as well it means that the supporters can expect a really good Test match Saturday,” Erasmus commented.
“We have prepared as well as we could, and the players are looking forward to playing in front of our passionate supporters in Johannesburg.”
Elsewhere in the Boks squad, there are returns to the national fold for Sale Sharks scrum-half Faf de Klerk, Wasps full-back Willie le Roux and talismanic number 8 Duane Vermeulen.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw, 4 RG Snyman, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (Capt), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw/Thomas du Toit, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant