BY STEVEN WYSON
South Africa’s rugby coach Rassie Erasmus on Wednesday named a 23-man squad to face Argentina at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on Saturday in a one-off Test match.
The match is the final one before Erasmus is set to name his 31-man team for the Rugby World Cup in Japan which starts in September.
The squad consists of 18 players who emerged overall winners in the Rugby Championship and five others christened “newcomers”. The five are Siya Kolisi, Thomas du Toit, Wilco Louw, Marco van Staden and Scarra Ntubeni.
Regular captain Siya Kolisi has been named in the starting XV but is expected to play a cameo role as he continues his return from a knee injury. He played for Western Province in the Currie Cup on Friday, his first game in four months.
Ntubeni, the only real potential debutant of the five, has previously toured with the Springboks back in 2013 and 2014 but is yet to make a Test appearance.
Schalk Brits will lead the Springboks making history as the second oldest player to captain the side at 38 years and 3 months. It will also be his first start for the Springboks since 2008. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies will deputise Brits.
Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies will miss the game after suffering a blow to his head in training. According to the South African Rugby Union, the injury is not expected to affect his selection for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Erasmus also named eight substitutes, of whom six are forwards while only two are backs. This move, he explained, is supposed to offer additional cover for Kolisi’s cameo role.
Frans Steyn, one of the two backs, is expected to offer cover at flyhalf, centre and fullback while Faf de Klerk will cover at scrumhalf.
Last week, South Africa beat Argentina 46-13 in Salta to win the Rugby Championship for the first time since the tournament rebranded from the Tri-Nations.
South Africa’s starting XV: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Sbu Nkosi, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. André Esterhuizen, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Marcell Coetzee, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Lood de Jager, 4. RG Snyman, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Schalk Brits (c), 1. Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16. Scarra Ntubeni, 17. Lizo Gqoboka, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Marvin Orie, 20. Marco van Staden, 21. Kwagga Smith, 22. Faf de Klerk, 23. Frans Steyn