Brits becomes second oldest Bok captain
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus unveiled a new-look team for their one-off ‘friendly’ international against Los Pumas.
South Africa host Argentina at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
Erasmus urged his team to make a strong statement on Saturday, when Schalk Brits will set a new ‘record’.
At 38 years and three months, Brits will be the oldest player ever to get his first taste of international captaincy in South African history.
However, Brits will be the second oldest captain in Springbok history, behind Victor Matfield – who was 38 and 172 days old when he led South Africa against Los Pumas in the bronze medal match at the 2015 World Cup.
Brits makes his first start in the green and gold since 2008.
Eighteen of the team featured in the Rugby Championship-winning campaign, but also included are five ‘newcomers’ in the returning Siyamthanda Kolisi, props Thomas du Toit and Wilco Louw, loose forward Marco van Staden and potential debutant Siyabonga Ntubeni (hooker).
Kolisi has been named in the starting XV for a cameo role, as he continues his carefully managed through his rehabilitation from a knee injury.
The backline that helped overwhelm Australia at Ellis Park a month ago has been reunited – with the exception of scrumhalf, where Cobus Reinach gets an opportunity to start.
The pack features a new front row, a mighty Bulls locking combination and a first start of the season for Marcell Coetzee alongside Kolisi and Rynhardt Elstadt.
Vice-captain Elton Jantjies will take over the leadership role in the event of Brits being replaced – opening the way for a debut by Ntubeni.
The Stormers hooker toured with the Springboks in 2013 and 2014, but has had a long wait to pull on the jersey for the first time in a Test.
Erasmus said the split between six forwards and two backs on the bench was to provide extra loose forward cover for Kolisi’s cameo.
Frans Steyn would cover flyhalf, centre and fullback with Faf de Klerk the only other back replacement.
Season sensation Herschel Jantjies was slated to provide scrumhalf cover, but he was withdrawn on Tuesday – following a blow to his head in training.
It is not expected to affect his potential inclusion in the World Cup squad.
South Africa: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Schalk Brits (captain), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Albertus Smith,
22 Francois de Klerk, 23 Frans Steyn.
Date: Saturday, August 17
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT; 12.00 Buenos Aires time)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO Simon McDowell (Ireland)