Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jamba Ulengo and Uzair Cassiem will make their Springbok debuts against Wales in the Principality Stadium on Saturday, while a fourth uncapped player, Jean-Luc du Preez, has been included on the bench for the final match of the 2016 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.
Strongly-built inside centre Janse van Rensburg, who takes over from Damian de Allende in a rotational switch, and winger Ulengo, who is in for Bryan Habana, are part of a reshuffled backline announced by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday.
Both Janse van Rensburg and Ulengo played for South Africa in the international match against the Barbarians three weeks ago at Wembley Stadium in London, but will now become officially capped Springboks.
Cassiem, who didn’t feature against the Baabaas, will also get his Test debut after Willem Alberts was ruled out because of a neck niggle.
A new-look backline also sees the return of Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) as halfback combination, while there is a further change at fullback, with Johan Goosen named to start in the No 15 jersey.
In the other change upfront, Lourens Adriaanse comes in at tighthead in place of Vincent Koch, which means that 14 players who will be based in South Africa for Vodacom Super Rugby in 2017 will start against Wales, with a further seven on the bench.
Coetzee said the revamped side was picked as result of a combination of factors. Apart from rotational changes and injuries, some of the selections were made with the building process towards 2019 in mind. The total amount of caps amongst the backs are 40, the lowest amount since 1994.
“We have a less experienced team, but I want to see some energy and an improved performance. Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and necessity to build towards 2019,” said Coetzee.
“Uzair was impressive during our domestic competitions and he was man of the match in the Currie Cup final. He made a good impression during the build-up to the Barbarians match and has continued to work hard on this tour since re-joining us.
“Jamba, Uzair and Rohan are examples of players who have forced their way into the squad through consistently performing well on the domestic scene and during training on tour, and now they are getting their opportunities to play for the Boks. Even though Damian played well against England and Italy we felt Rohan deserved an opportunity.
Regarding the change in the front row, the coach added: “Lourens played well whenever he was selected and he too deserves his opportunity.”
Regarding the challenge of facing Wales at home in front of a passionate crowd of 75,000 at the Principality Stadium, Coetzee said he expects another huge battle between the two sides.
“Recent matches between us have always delivered close fought battles and small point margins and I expect more of the same on Saturday,” said Coetzee.
The Springbok team to face Wales in Cardiff is:
|15||Johan Goosen||Racing 92 (France)||12||25|
|14||Ruan Combrinck||Xerox Golden Lions||6||15|
|13||Francois Venter||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||2||0|
|12||Rohan Janse van Rensburg||Xerox Golden Lions||0||0|
|11||Jamba Ulengo||Vodacom Blue Bulls||0||0|
|10||Elton Jantjies||NTT Shining Arcs (Japan)||10||72|
|9||Faf de Klerk||Xerox Golden Lions||10||0|
|8||Warren Whiteley||Docomo Red Hurricanes (Japan)||14||15|
|7||Uzair Cassiem||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||0||0|
|6||Nizaam Carr||DHL Western Province||4||0|
|5||Lood de Jager||Vodacom Blue Bulls||27||20|
|4||Pieter-Steph du Toit||DHL Western Province||19||15|
|3||Lourens Adriaanse||Cell C Sharks||5||0|
|2||Adriaan Strauss (captain)||Vodacom Blue Bulls||65||30|
|1||Tendai Mtawarira||Cell C Sharks||86||10|
|16||Malcolm Marx||Xerox Golden Lions||1||0|
|17||Steven Kitshoff||Bordeaux (France)||9||0|
|18||Trevor Nyakane||Vodacom Blue Bulls||27||5|
|19||Franco Mostert||Ricoh Black Rams (Japan)||6||0|
|20||Jean-Luc du Preez||Cell C Sharks||0||0|
|21||Piet van Zyl||Vodacom Blue Bulls||2||0|
|22||Pat Lambie||Cell C Sharks||55||151|
|23||Lionel Mapoe||Kubota Spears (Japan)||10||0|