Elton Jantjies and Damian Willemse will start at flyhalf and fullback in an overhauled Springbok team to kick off the 2022 season against Wales at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
There are seven changes to the starting lineup that went down 27-26 against England at Twickenham in November last year.
Jantjies and Willemse take over from flyhalf Handre Pollard and fullback Willie le Roux, respectively, while Frans Malherbe packs down at tighthead prop in Trevor Nyakane’s place, and the back row welcomes Franco Mostert and Jasper Wiese instead of Kwagga Smith and Duane Vermeulen.
The fit-again duo of scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and wing Cheslin Kolbe resume duty.
Meanwhile, Salmaan Moerat and Elrigh Louw are in line to make their Test debuts from the bench. Moerat, a member of the Bok touring squad for last season’s UK tour, and Louw have been standout performers for the Stormers and Vodacom Bulls, respectively, in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship this season.
The backline features several familiar faces, in wings Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi, and centres Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende.
In the front row, Malherbe and Ox Nche will pack down on either side of hooker Bongi Mbonambi, while Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager join forces at lock.
With a physical onslaught expected from Wales, Nienaber opted for a six-two split on the replacements bench, with Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) and veteran fullback Willie le Roux providing cover among the backs, while the forwards comprise the impactful front row of Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch, Moerat, Louw and versatile loose forward Kwagga Smith.
Springboks – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Willie le Roux.