World Cup-winning Springbok Lukhanyo Am will captain a very strong SA A team named by director of rugby Rassie Erasmus for Wednesday’s clash against the British and Irish Lions.
CAPE TOWN – South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus named a star-studded SA A team for their clash with the British and Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.
The 25-man squad, which will be cut down to 23 within the next two days, features 18 World Cup winners and will be captained by Lukhanyo Am, while Eben Etzebeth will be the vice-captain.
Five players in the starting line-up started in the Springboks’ Test against Georgia two weeks ago. Willie le Roux (fullback), Pieter-Steph du Toit (flank), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth (both locks) and Trevor Nyakane (prop) all played in that match against the Georgians, while prop Steven Kitshoff, Faf de Klerk at scrumhalf, wings Cheslin Kolbe and Sbu Nkosi and centres Damian de Allende and Am will add some more World Cup experience to the group.
Jasper Wiese (No 8), who made his Test debut against Georgia, joins Marco van Staden and Du Toit in the loose trio.
The replacements bench also sees a heavy World Cup flavour, with Vincent Koch (prop), Kwagga Smith (loose-forward), Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf), Elton Jantjies (flyhalf), Jesse Kriel (centre) and Damian Willemse (utility back) all in the mix.
“We’re pleased to be able to name a quality team with a number of experienced players despite the challenges in the last week, which included the entire squad being confined to their rooms as part of the team’s preventative self-isolation measures,” said Nienaber, who has handed over the coaching reigns to Erasmus as he continues to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19.
“We may have lost our captain Siya (Kolisi), but there is a good leadership core within this group with the likes of Morné, Willie (le Roux), Eben (Etzebeth), Trevor (Nyakane) and Steven (Kitshoff), among others, whose experience will be invaluable in a match against a quality British and Irish Lions outfit.
“Players such as Joseph and Nicolaas will also get their first taste of running out in the green and gold at senior level in what will mark a memorable occasion in their careers and we are excited to see them showcase their skills.”
“Rassie has been hands-on in our coaching and team selection meetings, he helped formulate our team structures, and he knows the players and coaching staff well, so it’s not an issue to adapt.”
The Springboks arrived in Cape Town on Sunday, while the players and team management who are in self-isolation will complete their mandatory isolation period in Johannesburg before making the trip to Cape Town.
SPRINGBOKS XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 S’bu Nkosi, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Japser Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Damian Willemse, 24 Kwagga Smith, 25 Elton Jantjies.