Aphelele Fassi Sharks Springboks

Aphelele Fassi is back in top form: Photo by Steve Haag Sports/INPHO/Shutterstock

Is this how the first Springbok backline will shape up?

There is now just over a month to go until the Springboks’ first Test of the year. Here we select what the backline could look like.

Aphelele Fassi Sharks Springboks

Aphelele Fassi is back in top form: Photo by Steve Haag Sports/INPHO/Shutterstock

A clash against Wales on 22 June is the latest Test to be added to the Springboks’ 2024 calendar, with the season-opening encounter set to take place at the iconic Twickenham Stadium.

It will also be played two weeks before the Springboks’ blockbuster two-Test battle against Ireland, but it’s clear that a second-string side will need to make the trip to Twickenham as the London game falls outside the official Test window.

Most overseas-based players will not be available, and if any South African team makes the URC final, those players will also be unavailable. As a result, we could see a host of players handed Test debuts, and Erasmus has already confirmed that selections will be made predominantly from the players invited to the first Springbok alignment camp of the year.

So, is this how the Springboks could line up for that first Test?

Erasmus will most likely opt to use this game to have a look at some promising “newcomers”, while also adding some experience into the mix to ensure there is a fair balance to the first team of the year.

Possible Springbok line-up: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Jaden Hendrikse

In our latest selection, we reckon Fassi has done enough at the Sharks in recent weeks to warrant a recall to the No 15 jersey, where he could start for the first time at Test level. His previous three Springbok appearances have all come on the left wing.

World Cup winners Kurt-Lee Arendse and Damian Willemse could add some experience to the mix, while it would be good to see Canan Moodie receive more time at outside centre.

Meanwhile, Hartzenberg boasts such talent, and he has enjoyed a stellar season for the Stormers. Like many young backs, it would make sense to see his transition into Test rugby begin with an appearance on the wing.

The Springbok coaches then have plenty of options when it comes to the halfback pairing, but in terms of familiarity, it would make sense for the Sharks’ combination of Jaden Hendrikse and Siya Masuku to crack the nod.

*Let us know what you think of this experimental selection by adding a comment at the end of this article


Saturday, 22 June: SA vs Wales (Twickenham, London)
Saturday, 6 July: SA vs Ireland (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Saturday, 13 July: SA vs Ireland (Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban)
Saturday, 20 July: SA vs Portugal (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein)

Saturday, 10 August: Australia vs SA (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)
Saturday, 17 August: Australia vs SA (Optus Stadium, Perth)
Saturday, 31 August: SA vs New Zealand (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
Saturday, 7 September: SA v New Zealand (DHL Stadium, Cape Town)
Saturday, 21 September: Argentina v SA (Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades, Santiago)
Saturday, 28 September: SA v Argentina (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)

Sunday, 10 November: Scotland vs SA (Murrayfield, Edinburgh)
Saturday, 16 November: England vs SA (Twickenham, London)
Saturday, 23 November: Wales vs SA (Principality Stadium, Cardiff)