Four debutants for Du Toit-led Boks

Jordan Hendrikse and Edwill van der Merwe will make starting debuts for the Pieter-Steph du Toit-captained Springboks in the first Test of the year against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Van der Merwe (wing) and Hendrikse (flyhalf) are the two uncapped players named in run-on team – which features a good balance of youth and experience – while DHL Stormers duo Ben-Jason Dixon (lock) and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (utility back) are the two new faces on the replacements bench.

A total of 10 players in the matchday squad featured in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final, while 16 players were members of the World Cup squad.

Erasmus welcomed back experienced hooker Malcolm Marx, who last ran out for the team in their opening World Cup encounter against Scotland before suffering a knee injury at training which ruled him out of further tournament action.

Thirty players will travel to London on Wednesday night, with those outside of the matchday squad being Manie Libbok (flyhalf), RG Snyman (lock) – both RWC winners – Neethling Fouche (prop), Phepsi Buthelezi (loose forward), Ethan Hooker (centre), Quan Horn (fullback), and Andre-Hugo Venter (hooker).

With Snyman plying his trade in Ireland, he will make the short flight to London to join the squad following Munster’s exit from the Vodacom United Rugby Championship in the semi-final last weekend against the Glasgow Warriors.

Five players in the starting team featured in the same positions in the international extravaganza at Stade de France in October last year, where the Springboks pipped the All Blacks 12-11 to be crowned world champions for the second time in a row. They are the duo of Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert, Du Toit, Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel – who has been named as the vice-captain for this match.

Erasmus opted for a five-three split in favour of the forwards on the replacements bench, which includes four World Cup winners – Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Grant Williams, and Damian de Allende respectively.

Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Gallo Images

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