Home Sports Springboks pick two new caps for first Test since 2019

Springboks pick two new caps for first Test since 2019

by centra

Wingers Rosko Specman and Aphelele Fassi will debut for South Africa as the world champions play for the first time since November 2019 when they meet Georgia in Pretoria on Friday.

SPRINGBOKS
SPRINGBOKS

The coronavirus has sidelined the Springboks after they defeated England convincingly to win the Rugby World Cup a record-equalling third time in Japan.

Only six of the team that started against the English were included in the run-on team to face the Georgians in the first international of a two-Test series, with Johannesburg hosting the second on July 9.

Many of the victorious 2019 squad are being rested. Others like number eight Duane Vermeulen are injured, some are recovering from positive Covid-19 tests while prop Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira has retired.

The matches are part of the South African preparations for three Tests against the British and Irish Lions on July 24 and 31 and August 7.

A 37-strong Lions squad arrived in Johannesburg on Monday and will play four franchises and a South Africa A selection before tackling the Springboks.

Fassi is considered one of the most exciting backline prospects in South Africa while playing mostly at full-back for the Durban-based Sharks.

Replacement Jasper Wiese, who has earned rave reviews for his performances with English Premiership outfit Leicester Tigers, is the other third uncapped player in the matchday 23. 

The Pretoria Test will mark the debut of Jacques Nienaber as head coach — he was in charge of defence when South Africa triumphed in Japan under Rassie Erasmus. 

Erasmus has since returned to his original role of national director or rugby, but will assist Nienaber in squad preparations and on match days.

South Africa and European second-tier rugby nation Georgia have met only once with the Springboks winning 46-19 in a 2003 World Cup group match.   

Team

(15-1)

Willie le Roux; Rosko Specman, Jesse Kriel, Francois Steyn, Aphelele Fassi; Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach; Kwagga Smith, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth; Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche  

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Marvin Orie, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Damian Willemse

Coach: Jacques Nienaber (RSA) @AFP

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