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Springboks name two uncapped players to start versus Georgia, with Wiese on the bench

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Pablo Morano/MB Media/Getty Images)

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Rosko Specman, Aphelele Fassi and Jasper Wiese are in line to make their Test debuts on Friday when the Springboks take on Georgia at Loftus Versfeld in the team’s first Test since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in November 2019. Specman, an Olympic Games bronze medalist in 2016, will start on the right wing while Fassi has been named on the left. Wiese, meanwhile, has been included on the bench and will earn his first Test cap should he take the field.


Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has named 18 World Cup winners in his first matchday squad in charge, twelve of whom featured in their 32-12 final triumph against England and six will start against Georgia. They are captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi, Willie le Roux and Handre Pollard.

“We have selected the best team with an eye on what we would like to achieve in this Test against Georgia and we believe that we have a good balance with a number of experienced campaigners and a few young players who have made a strong statement this season,” said Nienaber to the South African rugby website.

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Bryan Habana’s prediction for the Springboks versus Lions Test series
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Bryan Habana’s prediction for the Springboks versus Lions Test series

“Most of the players in this squad are World Cup winners, while others have been part of the national squad for a few seasons, and this will be invaluable against a team that boasts the passion that Georgia exhibit.

“We are also excited to see what the uncapped players bring to the table after impressive performances for their franchises in the last few seasons. Each one of them has proved that they deserve an opportunity at this level, and the commitment and enthusiasm they displayed at training has been striking.

“We are expecting Georgia to come out guns blazing with their passionate and physical rugby, so we need to find our rhythm early on and build up a good 80-minute performance. We know how big this challenge will be, but it is vital that we build a solid foundation in the next two Tests in order to refine our skill set, match readiness and ability to perform under pressure.”


SPRINGBOKS (vs Georgia, Friday)
15. Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 61 caps, 60 pts (12 t)
14. Rosko Specman (Toyota Cheetahs) – uncapped
13. Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 46 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12. Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 67 caps, 141 pts (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)
11. Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks) – uncapped
10. Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 48 caps, 457 pts (6t, 74c, 89p, 4d)
9. Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 14 caps, 30 pts (6t)
8. Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 6 caps, 0 pts
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers) – 55 caps, 25 pts (5t)
6. Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 50 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5. Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 39 caps, 5 pts (1t)
4. Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 85 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 42 caps, 5 pts (1t)2
2. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 36 caps, 35 pts (7t)
1. Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 1 cap, 0 pts

16. Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 33 caps, 25 pts (5t)
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers – 47 caps, 5 pts (1t)
18. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers – 38 caps, 5 pts (1t)
19. Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 3 caps, 0 pts
20. Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – uncapped
21. Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 10 caps, 20 pts (4t)
22. Elton Jantjies (Pau) – 37 caps, 281 pts (2t, 62c, 49p)
23. Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 5 pts (1t)


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