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Debutant De Klerk To Start For South Africa

Debutant De Klerk To Start For South Africa

New South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee has named Faf de Klerk as the only uncapped player in the team to face Ireland at Newlands Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5pm local time/4pm Irish time).

Allister Coetzee has included six players in the matchday 23 who did not feature at the Rugby World Cup last year, ushering in a new era for Springbok rugby. They are the Emirates Lions quintet of Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Warren Whiteley, Julian Redelinghuys and Lionel Mapoe, who will earn his first start for the ‘Boks, as well as DHL Stormers hooker Bongi Mbonambi, the only other uncapped player in the selection.

Scrum half de Klerk has been in good form this season for the Lions in the Super Rugby tournament and he earns a starting berth alongside experienced out-half Pat Lambie, who has played in 50 Tests for the ‘Boks.

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Adriaan Strauss will become the 57th player to lead out South Africa as captain, with the 30-year old Vodacom Bulls hooker playing in his 55th Test for his country.

Strauss will pack down between Tendai Mtawarira, who has earned 75 caps to his name, and Frans Malherbe. Coetzee picked Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth as his lock pairing, while the loose trio consists of Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi and the experienced Duane Vermeulen.

Among the backs, Coetzee opted for an experienced all-Cell C Sharks back trio of Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo. Lions outside centre Mapoe earns his second ‘Bok cap and partners Damian de Allende in an exciting midfield.

A total of eight players in the team started in the Springboks’ most recent Test, last October, when they defeated Argentina 24-13 in London to clinch the bronze medal at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. They are Mtawarira, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Louw, Vermeulen, de Allende, Pietersen and le Roux.

Commenting on the balance of the selected side, Coetzee said: “I am excited about the composition of the team and the players selected are rewarded for their consistently good performances in Vodacom Super Rugby.

“We’ve worked extremely hard these past two weeks to become a team and to make sure we cover all the necessary areas so we can face the Irish.

“The big test will come up front where we will have to make sure that we do well at set pieces, especially at scrum and lineouts. Those are the areas where the Irish have been strong, so we want to compete there and set a platform so our backs can hopefully get into their rhythm.”

SOUTH AFRICA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2016 Summer Series First Test, Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, Saturday, June 11, kick-off 5pm local time/4pm Irish time):

15. Willie le Roux (Cell C Sharks)
14. JP Pietersen (Cell C Sharks) 
13. Lionel Mapoe (Emirates Lions)
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers) 
11. Lwazi Mvovo (Cell C Sharks) 
10. Pat Lambie (Cell C Sharks) 
9. Faf de Klerk (Emirates Lions) *
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks)
2. Adriaan Strauss (Vodacom Bulls) (capt)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers)
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers)
5. Lood de Jager (Toyota Cheetahs)
6. Francois Louw (Bath)
7. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers)
8. Duane Vermeulen (Toulon)


16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) 
17. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls)
18. Julian Redelinghuys (Emirates Lions) 
19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers)
20. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions)
21. Rudy Paige (Vodacom Bulls)
22. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions)
23. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls)

* Denotes uncapped player at this level