Home Sport Duane Vermeulen to captain Springboks against Wallabies

Duane Vermeulen to captain Springboks against Wallabies

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It will be Duane Vermeulen’s third time as captain of the Springboks, and he will lead a matchday 23 featuring a handful of proven match-winners, and a group of fringe players, against the Wallabies.

Veteran Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will lead out the Soringboks against the Wallabies. Picture: KIM LUDBROOK/EPA

Duane Vermeulen will lead the Springboks against the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld this weekend in their opening match of the Rugby Championship, it was announced on Tuesday.

It will be the burly and experienced No.8’s third time as skipper of the national side, and he will lead a matchday 23 featuring a handful of proven match-winners, and a group of fringe players that will want to use the opportunity against the Wallabies on Saturday (kick-off 5pm) to stake a claim for a Rugby World Cup squad later this year.

As promised, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has split his resources with a second group of players that includes Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Franco Mostert and Jean-Luc du Preez, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi, Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel and team captain Siya Kolisi leaving for New Zealand on Tuesday; while Jasper Wiese will join these players later in the week due to family commitments.

The big talking point ahead of the clash surrounded who would slot in at No.10, and Nienaber has placed his faith in Manie Libbok. The recently returned Damian Willemse, who has been battling injury, will watch proceedings from the bench in the No.23 jersey and will cover flyhalf, centre and fullback.

In some positive news, Lukhanyo Am will also start the Test in the Green and Gold for the first time since last year August, and will partner the midfield with Andre Esterhuizen. The electric wing combination of Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie will be a welcome sight on their home turf.

Former Ireland international Jean Kleyn will also make his first appearance for the Springboks in the second-row, alongside Marvin Orie, who will win his 12th cap for the nation.

“Our plan from the outset was to select a squad that we believe has what it takes to beat Australia,” said Nienaber I the statement, “while at the same time selecting a group of players that could travel to New Zealand to give us the best possible chance to do well in both matches.

“Our last Championship match is in Johannesburg and then we’ll be able to select a squad from our full complement of players.

“This squad features several Rugby World Cup winners and a crop of younger players who have done the job for us at the highest level and judging by their enthusiasm and high work ethic at training, we know they are the right players for this big task.”

After the match 17 or 18 players will depart with the rest of the coaching staff on Sunday afternoon to meet up with the players already in that country.

Springbok team to face Wallabies in Pretoria:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.

Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Deon Fourie, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Damian Willemse.

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