The Springbok starting XV to face England at Ellis Park includes a record seven black Africans as well as three Test debutants.
Siya Kolisi is set to make history on Saturday when he becomes the first black African to captain the Boks in a Test. The openside flank will be one of seven black Africans in the starting lineup, along with debutant wings S’bu Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi, centre Lukhanyo Am – who will make his first Test start – and front-rowers Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi and Beast Mtawarira.
However, Nyakane, who is nursing a rib injury, has been bracketed with Wilco Louw and will be given until Friday when a call on his inclusion will be made.
Only three starters from last weekend’s loss to Wales – lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, flyhalf Elton Jantjies and scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl – have been included in the match 23. RG Snyman, who played a non-cap game against the Barbarians in November 2016, will make his Test debut in the second row.
Six players who were among the substitutes in Washington DC are on the bench again this Saturday – hooker Akker van der Merwe, props Steven Kitshoff and Thomas du Toit (the latter bracketed with Louw), loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe, scrumhalf Embrose Papier and utility back Warrick Gelant.
‘We have some good experienced players while there are some really exciting young men who have earned their opportunity to play for the Springboks,’ said coach Rassie Erasmus.
‘I am especially pleased for the three newcomers – Aphiwe, S’bu and RG – and I am looking forward to seeing how they will perform in tough Test match conditions against a formidable opponent.
‘England are a top-class, quality side and they will no doubt be very determined to be successful in this series, and with us desperate for success as well, it means that the supporters can expect a really good Test match on Saturday,’ Erasmus added.
‘We have prepared as well as we could and the players are looking forward to playing in front of our passionate supporters in Johannesburg.’
Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw/Thomas du Toit, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) June 7, 2018
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix