Jacques Nienaber has unveiled a Springboks team to play Wales this Saturday that has 11 alterations from their last outing against Argentina – and includes the recall of fit-again skipper Siya Kolisi. The South Africans defeated the Pumas 24-13 in Buenos Aires on August 5 in that friendly match.
The big selection news ahead of their Principality Stadium opener is the naming of 2019 Rugby World Cup skipper Kolisi in the team for the first time since last year’s Autumn Nations Series.
The back-rower injured his knee playing for the Sharks in April, but he has now bounced back from that operation with just weeks remaining until the Springboks open their latest World Cup campaign versus Scotland in Marseille on September 10.
This Saturday’s match will also see Ox Nche and Jaden Hendrikse make their first appearances of 2023, Nche recovering from injury and Hendrikse becoming available again following a recent family bereavement. The four repeat starters from Buenos Aires are Canan Moodie, Manie Libbok, Jean Kleyn and Jasper Wiese.
A statement read: “Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has made 11 changes to the starting team that defeated Argentina in Buenos Aires two weekends ago, with the big inclusions being the return of Kolisi (flanker) and Nche (prop) from knee and pectoral muscle injuries respectively, and the inclusion of Hendrikse (scrum-half).
“The team features the reuniting of Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe (both props) and Malcolm Marx (hooker) for the second time this season, while the Muster lock duo of Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman will start together in Springbok jerseys for the first time.
“The loose trio also has a new look to it, with Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit partnering up with Jasper Wiese in the other changes in the forward pack – reforming a combination that last appeared together against Ireland in November.
In the backline, Hendrikse will take the field alongside regular flyhalf Manie Libbok, while Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel being rejoined in a midfield combination. Cheslin Kolbe comes in on the left wing where he will form an exciting back three with veteran fullback Willie le Roux and right wing Canan Moodie.
“Nienaber opted for a six/two split in favour of forwards on the bench, where Nche and Vincent Koch will provide cover at prop and Bongi Mbonambi – who captained the team in the last Test against Argentina – at hooker, while the physical trio of Franco Mostert, Marco van Staden and Duane Vermeulen will also be ready to make an impact off the bench.
Springboks (vs Wales, Saturday):
15 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 86 caps, 65 pts (13T)
14 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 6 caps, 10 pts (2T)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 61 caps, 60 pts (12T)
12 – Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights) – 72 caps, 50 pts (10T)
11 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 25 caps, 81 pts (12T, 3C, 5P)
10 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 7 caps, 45 pts (1T, 11C, 6P)
9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 12 caps, 12 pts (2T, 1C)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester) – 22 caps, 5 pts (1T)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 69 caps, 30 pts (6T)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain – Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 75 caps, 45 pts (9T)
5 – RG Snyman (Munster) – 26 caps, 5 pts (1T)
4 – Jean Kleyn (Munster) – 2 caps, 0 pts (Ireland 5 caps)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 61 caps, 5 pts (1T)
2 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 61 caps, 75 pts (15T)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (Ulster) – 74 caps, 10 pts (T)
16 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 60 caps, 60 pts (12T)
17 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 19 caps, 0 pts
18 – Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 45 caps, 0 pts
19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 65 caps, 15 pts (3T)
20 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 12 caps, 0 pts
21 – Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby) – 68 caps, 15 pts (3T)
22 – Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 4 caps, 0 pts
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 31 caps, 36 pts 36 (2T, 4C, 4P, 2D)