RUGBY WORLD CUP Springboks All Blacks

South Africa’s scrum-half Faf de Klerk (R) prepares to pass the ball during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on October 28, 2023. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Springboks starting XV vs Wales: Prediction

Is this how the Springboks will line up when they run out onto the iconic Twickenham turf to face Wales in a historic Test match?

RUGBY WORLD CUP Springboks All Blacks

South Africa’s scrum-half Faf de Klerk (R) prepares to pass the ball during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on October 28, 2023. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

The world champion Springboks return to the field for the first time since the Rugby World Cup final when they run out at Twickenham Stadium in London to take on Wales in a Test match on Saturday 22 June.

Here we take a look at who might start that match for the Springboks.

Predicted Springboks starting XV vs Wales

15 Quan Horn

URC live scores Lions vs Stormers
Quan Horn of the Lions on the attack during the United Rugby Championship 2022/23 match between Stormers and Lions held at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. Image: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

One of the Lions most improved players through the campaign, his kicking game probably gives him the edge over other candidates to start at fullback. Horn has also shown that he can spark attacks from almost anywhere on the park.

14 Edwill van der Merwe

Lions wing Edwill van der Merwe against Connacht
Lions wing Edwill van der Merwe skips through the Connacht defence. Image: URC via X.

Injuries to Kurt-Lee Arendse and Cheslin Kolbe have opened the door for Edwill van der Merwe to make his Springbok debut. Van der Merwe is a brilliant finisher and a game breaker in the mould of the famous faces who have suffered injuries.

13 Ethan Hooker

Springboks
Ethan Hooker of the Sharks. Image: Steve Haag via Backpagepix

One of the players at the Sharks to really stick his hand up through tough situations. Hooker would give the Springboks a physical presence at 13 and also has a turn of pace that means he can make the most of linebreaks.

12 Andre Esterhuizen

Springboks World Cup Bok centre Andre Esterhuizen
Andre Esterhuizen on the charge for the Springboks. Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

The Springboks could set out to dominate midfield with another big strong boy at inside centre. Esterhuizen might get a chance to stake his claim for being the first choice at 12, while Damian De Allende could be rested for the encounter with Wales.

10 Siya Masuku

Siya Masuku Sharks Springbok
Siya Masuku of the Sharks kicks at goal. Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Siya Masuku was impressive in the Sharks championship run in the Challenge Cup. His goal-kicking under pressure could give him the edge over incumbent Manie Libbok for the fixture against Wales.

9 Grant Williams

Grant Williams
Promising Springbok scrumhalf, Grant Williams. Image: SA Rugby website.

If Masuku starts at 10 it would make sense to pair him with Sharks dynamo Grant Williams. Williams’ pace and opportunistic instincts could also help to make up for the absence of Arendse and Kolbe.

8 Evan Roos

Stormers
Evan Roos of Stormers runs at Tom Stewart and Scott Wilson of Ulster during the United Rugby Championship game between the Stormers and Ulster at Cape Town Stadium. Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Evan Roos gets his chance to move to the front of the No 8 queue in the Springbok jersey. Roos faces a battle with experienced Juarno Augustus, Phepsi Buthelezi and eventually Cameron Hanekom. Roos is a great ball-carrying loose forward and gets through a lot of work whether playing at 6 or 8.

7 Ben-Jason Dixon

Stormers Ben-Jason Dixon Springbok
Ben-Jason Dixon of the Stormers dives over to score a try. Image: ©Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

The Springboks will have Pieter-Steph du Toit available but they could favour blooding the man seen as his likely successor. Much like Du Toit, Dixon is a converted lock who brings an overwhleming physicality to the tight loose for the Stormers and could do the same for the national team.

6 Phepsi Buthelezi

Sharks URC Phepsi Buthelezi captain. Springbok players rested.
Phepsi Buthelezi to lead the Sharks. Image: Steve Haag/Backpagepix.

Phepsi Buthelezi has done well to avoid having his form impacted by the Sharks URC woes. Buthelezi played a starring role in the Sharks Challenge Cup final and showed he could translate his skills to Test rugby.

5 Franco Mostert

Springboks vs Ireland
Springbok locks Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert double tackle Ireland wing Mack Hansen. Image: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile.

The Springboks will want experience in the tight five with other roles seeing players being blooded. Mostert should start as the regular lock partner to skipper Eben Etzebeth.

4 Eben Etzebeth

Springboks Eben Etzebeth
Eben Etzebeth. Image via Instagram @ebenetzebeth4

Etzebeth will captain the Springboks and bring his energetic brand of rugby to the role. He loves to get stuck in but is also one of the smartest tight forwards in world rugby.

3 Vincent Koch

Bomb Squad Springboks Vincent Koch
Vincent Koch of the Springboks famous ‘Bomb Squad’ in action during the Rugby Championship Test match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks. Image: EPA/JAMES ROSS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

The Sharks starting front row should be favoured to put the pressure on Wales early on. Wales will be up for the scrum battle and could surprise less experienced players.

2 Bongi Mbonambi

Springboks Bongi Mbonambi team shirt
Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi. Image: AFP

Mbonambi solid lineout service and brilliant scrum work gain more appreciation each time he plays. As another leader it will be important for him to start the season well.

1 Ox Nche

Ox Nche
Ox Nche acknowledges supporters. Image: David Winter/Shutterstock/Backpagepix.

The Springboks might want to hold back their strongest scrummagers but that would be a mistake against Wales. Nche should complete an all-star front row.