April at 10 for South Africa A

Garth April will start at flyhalf for South Africa A against the England Saxons in Bloemfontein on Friday.

April and Stormers trio Nic Groom (scrumhalf), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (flank) and Scarra Ntubeni (hooker) were named in the initial Springbok squad but released to the A team on Tuesday. All four of them will start against the Saxons.

Coach Johan Ackermann has also named four Test players – Oupa Mohoje, Nizaam Carr, Stephan Lewies and Vincent Koch – in the starting lineup and a further two, Coenie Oosthuizen and Piet van Zyl, on the bench.

Stormers wing Leolin Zas has been selected at fullback as one of seven players, including April, JD Schickerling, Lizo Gqoboka, Jean-Luc du Preez, RG Snyman and Lukhanyo Am, who made their Super Rugby debuts in 2016.

'I think we have a brilliant mix of experienced players who have tasted what Test rugby is all about, as well as the four members of the Springbok squad, and exciting youngsters who will be pushing for higher honours in the coming seasons,' Ackermann said.

'I’m sure we’ll see some excitement on the field on Friday. We’re up against a very formidable opponent and the Saxons have been together for a long time already, so our players know that they have to be sharp, focused and on top of their game for the full 80 minutes.'

South Africa A – 15 Leolin Zas, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Garth April, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Oupa Mohoje (c), 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Thomas du Toit.

Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Lukhanyo Am.

England Saxons team

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Mariette Adams