Town - Andre
Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am will start for the Springboks in
Durban on Saturday in their Rugby Championship opener against Argentina.
That much was confirmed by coach
Rassie Erasmus in Umhlanga on Monday.
Erasmus had said in Stellenbosch
last week that Damian de Allende might be fit for the Durban Test, but he
confirmed on Monday that the Stormers midfielder is only likely to be back for
the Boks' Australasian leg of the Championship.
It means that Esterhuizen and Am
start together for the Boks for the first time.
"I think it's quite obvious
that we're going to pick the two together," Erasmus said.
"It's not that they play for
the Sharks and we're in Durban, I think it just helps that the two of them have
There had been some speculation
that Erasmus may opt to play Handre Pollard at No 12 with Elton Jantjies at
flyhalf, but that will not happen.
"Handre is just settling in
and Elton has more minutes than anyone else in Super Rugby," Erasmus
"We have to manage him
somewhere and if we don't manage him here at the beginning of the tournament
... he needs a bit of breathing space.
"Damian (De Allende) will
probably be ready for the Australasian tour, but he won't be ready for these
first two games. Andre Esterhuizen is fit and playing at home, so it would make
sense to play him."
The other option at centre was
Jesse Kriel, who had a superb Super Rugby season at No 13 for the Bulls.