Springboks Wales Jacques Nienaber Boks

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber could make some interesting selections this week. Photo: Albert Perez/Getty Images

TEST WEEK: Boks set to unleash another debutant on Saturday?

A firm fan favourite could be brought into the Boks’ matchday squad for this Saturday’s second Test against Wales.

Springboks Wales Jacques Nienaber Boks

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber could make some interesting selections this week. Photo: Albert Perez/Getty Images

The Boks are already expected to bring at least two key players back into the starting line-up for this Saturday’s second Test against Wales in Bloemfontein.

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Last Saturday it took a late penalty from Damian Willemse for the Springboks to snatch victory from the jaws of what would have been a humiliating defeat in the opening encounter in Pretoria.

Boks ‘will be better’ in second Test in Bloemfontein

The good news for Springbok fans, though, is the fact that the world champions should be far better in next weekend’s second clash after shaking off the cobwebs at Loftus Versfeld. There should also be two key players returning to the run-on XV, expected to be Pieter-Steph du Toit and Handre Pollard.

Interestingly, Evan Roos made his appearance at a Springboks press conference on Monday afternoon, and it will be very interesting to see whether this could be a sign to suggest he is line for a Test debut this weekend.

“It is quite a rollercoaster. It has been unreal. I am just really happy to be part of this. I didn’t ever think it would happen,” said Roos when talking about his journey to this point in his career.

“To be sitting here is quite surreal. I just try to work hard every day and take in as much from these experienced players and this coaching staff as I can and just become a better rugby player.”

It’s tricky to work out exactly how Roos would fit into the squad, particularly considering Pieter-Steph du Toit should be back in selection contention this week. However, his presence in the media this week will certainly attract the attention of many fans who have been calling for his inclusion after a stunning URC season with the Stormers.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will name his match-day 23-man squad for the opening Test on Tuesday, 5 July at 12:30.

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In terms of other possible changes to the team, Elton Jantjies endured a shocker in Pretoria and was replaced at half-time, with the 31-year-old clearly battling with form and confidence after recently recovering from a serious shoulder injury.

Handre Pollard is back in the Boks’ camp after belatedly linking up with the squad after winning the Top 14 with French club Montpellier, and he should now be an automatic selection in the No 10 jersey this weekend.

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Meanwhile, 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year, Pieter-Steph du Toit, is also expected to be available for selection after his reintegration from injury.

Some have suggested he should be phased back off the bench, with youngster Elrigh Louw perhaps then earning a promotion to start at blindside flank in place of Franco Mostert.

Yet it’s most likely that the Boks will not want to rush Louw straight into frontline action, and instead it should be Du Toit who reclaims the No 7 jersey.

The rest of the starting team is expected to remain firmly intact.

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Ahead of him doing so, The South African website’s Craig Lewis and Garrin Lambley have selected the starting XV’s that they believe the Springboks’ brains trust will read out.

Meanwhile, Wales will name their starting XV and substitutes exactly 48 hours later on Thursday, 7 July at 12:30.

Kick-off for the Test in Bloemfontein is at 17:05 and, as always, the best place to follow the action LIVE is on The South African website.

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CRAIG LEWIS’ EXPECTED SPRINGBOK STARTING XV

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

GARRIN LAMBLEY’S EXPECTED SPRINGBOK STARTING XV

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

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Springbok No 8 Jasper Wiese in action against Wales at Loftus Versfeld on 2 July, 2022 in Pretoria. Photo: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images