Opening Bok tour team named
Johannesburg - The Springbok starting XV to face Leicester in the opening tour match at Welford Road on Friday includes five uncapped players and nine players who were involved in the team’s 2009 Tri-Nations campaign.
The team will be captained by hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle, who last captained a Springbok team against a World XV, also in Leicester, in 2006.
Loose forwards Dewald Potgieter and Ashley Johnson, scrumhalf Heini Adams, centre Juan de Jongh and fullback Earl Rose will make their debuts for the Springboks whilst other newcomers to the squad – hooker Bandise Maku, lock Alistair Hargreaves, flank Davon Raubenheimer, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and fullback Riaan Viljoen are likely to earn their first caps from the bench.
The squad of 22 includes 12 players with Test experience who between them have earned 186 caps. Those who were part of the Tri-Nations squad are front-rankers Gurthro Steenkamp, captain Chiliboy Ralepelle, and Jannie du Plessis, locks Danie Rossouw and Andries Bekker, flank Heinrich Brüssow, flyhalf Ruan Pienaar, centre Wynand Olivier and wing Odwa Ndungane.
The match marks a return for wing Jongi Nokwe, who last played in the third Test against the British & Irish Lions in July, as well as for centre Meyer Bosman and prop Heinke van der Merwe, who last represented the Springboks in 2006 and 2007 respectively and have been included on the bench.
There are a total of 10 uncapped players in the match 22, six of whom have previously played for the Emerging Springboks – Potgieter, Adams, Rose, Maku and Raubenheimer, who faced the British & Irish Lions in 2009, and Johnson, at the IRB Nations Cup in 2008.
Centre De Jongh has played for the Springbok Sevens team, whilst Hargreaves and Hougaard have represented South Africa at Under-19 and Under-21 levels.
“Our focus is fully on the Leicester match because it is important that we get the tour off to a good start,” said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.
“It is also important that we strive to give all of the newcomers game time in the opener. It is also great to have a host of players in the 22 that have played at Test level and can use their experience to assist the newcomers to settle quickly.
“Leicester will be tough opponents. They have been consistently good for the past few seasons and are one of the top club teams in the Northern Hemisphere,” de Villiers said.
Leicester Tigers are the defending Premiership champions, having beaten London Irish in the 2008/09 final in May this year. They are currently lying fourth in the 2009/10 standings after seven matches.
Friday’s match at Welford Road kicks off at 21:45 SA time.Springbok team:
15 Earl Rose (uncapped)
14 Odwa Ndungane (6)
13 Juan de Jongh (uncapped)
12 Wynand Olivier (24)
11 Jongi Nokwe (4)
10 Ruan Pienaar (35)
9 Heini Adams (uncapped)
8 Ashley Johnson (uncapped)
7 Dewald Potgieter (uncapped)
6 Heinrich Brüssow (10)
5 Andries Bekker (18)
4 Danie Rossouw (43)
3 Jannie du Plessis (12)
2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain) (8)
1 Gurthro Steenkamp (22) Reserves
16 Bandise Maku (uncapped)
17 Heinke van der Merwe (1)
18 Alistair Hargreaves (uncapped)
19 Davon Raubenheimer (uncapped)
20 Francois Hougaard (uncapped)
21 Meyer Bosman (3)
22 Riaan Viljoen (uncapped)