Boks spring surprise selections against Wales

Damian Willemse and Jesse Kriel have both been named to start as the Springboks opted for a new-look backline for the Test against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Willemse, Kriel and Herschel Jantjies will start against Wales as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made four changes to his match-day squad that defeated the All Blacks for their opening Test of the Outgoing Tour.

Willemse, who has 14 Test caps, will earn his fourth start in the green and gold when he runs out at fullback, while it will be Jantjies’ third Test in the No 9 jersey as he pairs up with Handre Pollard in the halfback combination.

Kriel, who starts at right wing, will earn his 49th cap in the match that kicks off at 5:30pm (7:30pm SA time) and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Willemse comes in for Willie le Roux in a rotational switch, and Jantjies takes over from Faf de Klerk, who was ruled out of the squad due to a hip-flexor injury. Kriel replaces Sbu Nkosi, who is yet to travel to the UK as he awaits the necessary paperwork.

Jantjies’ promotion to the starting lineup has Cobus Reinach being drafted on to the replacements bench in the only change among the reserves.

The Springboks will travel to Edinburgh to face Scotland and then London where they will line up against England following this weekend’s match.

Paul Williams (New Zealand) has been appointed the match referee and he will be assisted by Andrew Brace (Ireland) and James Doleman (New Zealand), while Olly Hodges (Ireland) will serve as the television match official.

Springboks – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.

Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

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Dylan Jack