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South Africa name two debutants in squad to face Wales

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

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South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has named uncapped duo Salmaan Moerat and Elrigh Louw in his matchday 23 to face Wales this Saturday in Pretoria.

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The DHL Stormers lock Moerat and the Vodacom Bulls No.8 Louw both start on the bench in what is a strong Springboks side.

Elton Jantjies starts at fly-half in Handre Pollard’s absence after he won the Top 14 with Montpellier on Saturday. Franco Mostert starts in the No.7 jersey after Pieter-Steph du Toit was ruled out of this Test, while Jasper Wiese starts at No.8, beating United Rugby Championship Player of the Season Evan Roos in the race to be selected.

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It is also the familiar 6-2 split on the bench, with Herschel Jantjies and Willie le Roux taking the two back slots, while the versatile Damian Willemse starts at fullback.

“We have a talented group of players, and we believe the matchday squad we selected ticks the boxes in terms of what we would like to achieve in the opening Test against Wales,” said Nienaber.

“We have the added advantage of having several players that are quite versatile, so a guy like Damian Willemse for example can cover flyhalf and centre in addition to fullback, while Kwagga covers each of the loose forward positions and can even slot in at wing with his Blitzbok experience.

“Franco also gives us options at loose forward and lock, so we look forward to seeing what this team can produce on Saturday.”

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On the selection of Moerat and Louw, Nienaber said: “We have a fantastic crop of young players who have really been working hard at training and putting up their hands, and it is pleasing for us as coaches to give Salmaan and Elrigh this opportunity.

“Salmaan was with us on our tour to the UK last season, and despite being so young he brings a different sense of experience as a former Junior Springbok and SA Schools captain, while Elrigh also featured in a World Rugby U20 Championship and has been playing senior provincial rugby for a while.

Springbok team to face Wales in Pretoria:
15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks)
10 – Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Yokohama Canon Eagles)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks)
5 – Lood de Jager (Panasonic Wild Knights)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks)
1 – Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks)

Replacements:
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers)
18 – Vincent Koch (Wasps)
19 – Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers)
20 – Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls)
21 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo)
22 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers)
23 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz)

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