Siya Kolisi has overcome a Covid-19 setback and will lead the Springboks against the British & Irish Lions in the highly anticipated first Test at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber named a strong lineup to be led Kolisi, with 21 players in the match 23 having featured in the Springboks’ triumphant World Cup campaign in Japan in 2019.
Handre Pollard was named as the vice-captain and will earn his 50th cap in the momentous opening Test between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions on Saturday.
Kolisi, Makazole Mapimpi and Ox Nche were the last group of players to report for duty at the Springbok camp in Cape Town on Monday morning after completing their mandatory self-isolation in Johannesburg, and they were all cleared to return to the field on Monday afternoon following medical screening.
Nienaber was confident that all the players named in the side had the temperament and passion to give their all in this important Test.
The entire pack of forwards, the halfback pairing of Pollard and Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Willie le Roux (fullback) started the Test against Georgia which the Springboks won 40-9 a little over two weeks ago, meaning the team will enter the match with some valuable game time and continuity in selection.
The changes to the starting XV that ran out against Georgia were on the wings where Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe will be on duty, and in the midfield, where Damian de Allende will partner up with Lukhanyo Am – the same combinations that ran out in the Rugby World Cup final.
The only two changes among the replacements were at loose forward where Rynhardt Elstadt replaces Jasper Wiese and Lood de Jager takes over from Marvin Orie.
With the SA A matches having concluded, Nienaber also reduced his squad to 37 players, with Yaw Penxe and Rosko Specman (wings), Wandisile Simelane (centre), Sanele Nohamba (scrumhalf), Dan du Preez (loose forward), Jean-Luc du Preez (utility forward), Coenie Oosthuizen and Lizo Gqoboka (props), Scarra Ntubeni and Fez Mbatha (hookers) released back to their franchises and clubs.
The match kicks off at 6pm and will be broadcast live on SuperSport. Nic Berry of Australia has been appointed as referee for this Test, with Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Mathieu Raynal (France) assisting him on the sidelines.
Springbok team to face the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 62 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse) – 14 caps, 40 pts (8t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 15 caps, 15 pts (3t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 47 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 14 caps, 70 pts (14t)
10 – Handre Pollard (vice-captain – Montpellier) – 49 caps, 465pts (6t, 78c, 89p, 4d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) – 30 caps, 20 pts (4t)
8 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Jubilo) – 7 caps, 5 pts (1t)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers) – 56 caps, 25 pts (5t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain – Cell C Sharks) – 51 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 40 caps, 5pts (1t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 86 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 43 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 37 caps, 40 pts (8t)
1 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 2 caps, 0 pts
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 34 caps, 30 pts (6t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 48 caps, 5pts (1t)
18 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 39 caps, 5pts (1t)
19 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 45 caps, 25 pts (5t)
20 – Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse) – 2 caps, 0 pts
21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 11 caps, 25 pts (5t)
22 – Elton Jantjies (Pau) – 38 caps, 283 pts (2t, 63c, 49p)
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 7 caps, 5pts (1t)
5️⃣0️⃣-up for Pollard against the Lions on Saturday
🇿🇦 Experienced Bok side named for Cape Town Test
🗣️ “The forward battle is going to be as tough as it gets”
👉 Team announcement: https://t.co/VpaSUP4YGe#CastleLionsSeries #StrongerTogether #StrongerForever pic.twitter.com/GuTORY78qJ
— Springboks (@Springboks) July 20, 2021
Here is the Springbok team to take on the British & Irish Lions in the first test on Saturday, captained by Siya Kolisi. Build up from 4:30PM, kickoff at 6PM 🇿🇦🦁#CastleLionsSeries | #StrongerForever pic.twitter.com/y2pmfQhP5R
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) July 20, 2021