Elton Jantjies

Elton Jantjies has moved ahead of legendary flyhalf Naas Botha in the all-time Springbok points scoring list. Photo: Archives

Elton Jantjies to skipper South Africa ‘A’ against the Bulls

Only three players who started in the South Africa ‘A’ win against the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday retained their places in the starting team.

Elton Jantjies

Elton Jantjies has moved ahead of legendary flyhalf Naas Botha in the all-time Springbok points scoring list. Photo: Archives

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is casting a wide net with the second South Africa ‘A’ match giving the international camp more game-time ahead of the Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

Nienaber has made wholesale changes to South Africa ‘A’ for their clash against the Bulls at Cape Town Stadium.

 Jantjies to skipper much changed South Africa ‘A’

Only three players who started in the South Africa ‘A’ win against the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday retained their places in the starting team – Damian de Allende (centre), Marco van Staden (flank) and Joseph Dweba (hooker).

Aphelele Fassi (fullback), Rosko Specman (wing), Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf), Kwagga Smith (No 8), all of whom started in the Test against Georgia two weeks ago, are back in the starting lineup.

Fassi, who made his Test debut at wing, will form an exciting back three with Specman and the uncapped Yaw Penxe, while exciting centre Wandisile Simelane will join forces with the experienced De Allende in the midfield.

Pack changes

Nienaber named a physical loose trio featuring Smith, Rynhardt Elstadt and Van Staden, while Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg is promoted from the bench to the starting team where he will start alongside Jean-Luc du Preez in the second row.

Dweba, meanwhile, will pack down with vice-captain Vincent Koch and Coenie Oosthuizen in the front row.

The expanded South Africa ‘A’ replacements bench also has a completely different look to it with Fez Mbatha, Lizo Ggoboka, Thomas du Toit and Wilco Louw – who joined the squad earlier in the week as additional prop cover – named alongside Jasper Wiese, Sanele Nohamba, Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, and Damian Willemse.

“We wanted another South Africa ‘A’ match to give all the players a chance to show what they are capable of before we enter the Test Series against the British & Irish Lions, and we are excited to give these players this valuable opportunity,” said Nienaber.

“With several changes to the matchday squad, there won’t be much continuity from Wednesday’s match, but the game time and the chance for these players to show what they can offer on the field will be invaluable with an eye on improving our match fitness and building momentum before we enter the Test Series.”

Nienaber was thrilled to be back with the squad after having to watch the SA ‘A’ team take on the British & Irish Lions from Johannesburg and said: “It’s great to be back with the squad and to be able to interact with the players and management staff.

“I joined all our coaching sessions and team meetings online during my COVID-19 isolation period, so it is a real pleasure to be back in the team set-up and coaching on the field.”

The Bok coach looked forward to the clash and said: “The Vodacom Bulls have been a force to be reckoned with in domestic rugby since rugby resumed late last year after a long absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are expecting a good match-up.

“We want to make the most of this opportunity to build on our structures and systems and also to tick certain boxes before the Test matches against the British & Irish Lions.”

Marius van der Westhuizen will be the referee in this match, with Rasta Rasivhenge and Aimee Barrett-Theron his assistants, while Marius Jonker is the TMO.

South Africa ‘A’ team

South Africa ‘A’ team to face the Vodacom Bulls at Cape Town Stadium

15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain) 9 Cobus Reinach; 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 4 Jean-Luc du Preez, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen

Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Japser Wiese, 20 Sanele Nohamba, 21 Sbu Nkosi, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Damian Willemse, 24 Lizo Gqoboka