Siya Kolisi will start his first Test of 2019 after being named in the Springbok team that will face Argentina at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. Despite his presence in the team, Schalk Brits will captain the side.
The Pumas are in town for a one-off friendly match, which also serves as both teams’ last encounter before the start of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus has named a largely experimental XV for the clash, which sees a return for the national fold for Kolisi, who had missed the triumphant Rugby Championship campaign as he was recovering from an injury picked up during the 2019 Super Rugby season.
Kolisi told to go for broke
As he remained in the country, Kolisi had turned out for Western Province in the ongoing Currie Cup.
Erasmus says the decision to hand Brits the armband was influenced by the likelihood that the regular skipper may not last much further than the first 40 minutes.
“I’ve asked Siya to empty his tank and go as hard for as long as he can,” said Erasmus.
“I’ve told him he might even come off in the first half. He has played less than 50 minutes of Currie Cup rugby in the last 12 weeks but I needed him to have a taste of Test rugby again before we leave for Japan.”
World Cup prep continues
Kolisi returns to the green and gold, and will form an all-new loose trio, alongside former WP flanker Rynhardt Elstadt and ex-Sharks player Marcell Coetzee, who will don the number eight shirt for the first time in international rugby.
Also making his first start this year is scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, who is in the starting team as one hald of a halfback pairing with vice-captain Elton Jantjies.
Centres André Esterhuizen and Jesse Kriel partner up in the midfield once more, having done so in the Rugby Championship opener against Australia at Ellis Park, while Sbu Nkosi and Warrick Gelant also start at 14 and 15 respectively. Province utility player Dillyn Leyds also makes a return to the national fold, and he starts on the other wing.
There is a potential debut for hooker Scara Ntubeni, who has been penned in on the bench, while Wilco Louw – also called up to the squad earlier in the week – is also in among the replacements.
For the third match in a row, there is an all-new front row in the Springbok team, with Brits flanked by Thomas du Toit and Vincent Koch, while Bulls locks RG Snyman and Lood de Jager pack up in the second row.
Springbok team vs Argentina on Saturday 17 August
Backs: Warrick Gelant, Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, André Esterhuizen, Dillyn Leyds, Elton Jantjies, Cobus Reinach.
Forwards: Marcell Coetzee, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Vincent Koch, Schalk Brits (captain), Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Lizo Gqoboka, Wilco Louw, Marvin Orie, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Frans Steyn.
The South African