South Africa v Wales on Sky Sports: Springboks’ Damian Willemse and Elton Jantjies start the first Test at Loftus Versfeld | Rugby Union News


Damian Willemse (l) and Elton Jantjies will start for the Springboks in Pretoria

Elton Jantjies will start at fly-half and the electric Damian Willemse at full-back when South Africa take on Wales in the first Test at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

Jantjies has been preferred to regular starter Handre Pollard, who played in the French Top 14 final victory for Montpellier on Friday, while Willemse is chosen ahead of the much more experienced Willie le Roux.

He suggests the Boks could look to run with the ball in hand and move away from their reliance on a kicking game a bit, looking to tire the Welsh at height before unleashing their powerful strikers from the bench.

The rest of the backline looks familiar with wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, centers Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende, and scrum-half Faf de Klerk, all of whom started for the Boks in their final victory of the 2019 World Cup over England.

The front row consists of props Frans Malherbe and Ox Nche, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, the lock pair of Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager, and the back three of captain Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert and Jasper Wiese.

“We have the advantage of having a number of players who are quite versatile, so a guy like Damian Willemse can cover fly-half and center as well as full-back, while Kwagga (Smith) covers each of the loose forward positions and can even lay in the wing with his Blitzbok (Sevens) experience,” said head coach Jacques Nienaber.

Capless lock Salmaan Moerat and forward Elrigh Louw have been named among the replacements and will almost certainly get a run when the Boks use their 6-2 split off the bench in the second half to add fresh muscle to the pack.

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The pair met in Cape Town earlier this month when Moerat’s Stormers defeated the Bulls in the inaugural final of the United Rugby Championship.

“We have a fantastic crop of young players who have really been working hard in training and raising their hands, and it is a pleasure for us as coaches to give Salmaan and Elrigh this opportunity,” Nienaber said.

“We have a plan for the season in terms of giving some of the young players a chance to show what they can do at international level, while also assessing the experienced players and where they are in terms of their rugby.”

The second and third tests, also live on Sky Sports, will be played in Bloemfontein and Cape Town respectively over the next two Saturdays. Wales have lost their previous 10 matches in South Africa.

The Boks' last test ended in defeat to England last November.

The Boks’ last test ended in defeat to England last November.

South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 1 Ox Nche, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Lood de Jager , 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Franco Mostert, 8 Jasper Wiese.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Willie le Roux.

Beard wants Wales to make SA history

The odds are stacked against last year’s Guinness Six Nations champions, and Wales’ difficulty level rose in the first two games, at Pretoria and Bloemfontein, by height.

And they have never beaten the Springboks in South Africa either, losing the previous 10 Tests, with many of those results being comprehensive defeats.

“Obviously it’s going to be difficult, physically and mentally,” said the Welsh lock Beard.

“We’re in a really good space as a team. We’ve trained well and we know what’s at stake here: creating our own story.”

Adam Beard wants Wales to make history in South Africa

Adam Beard wants Wales to make history in South Africa

“It would be an amazing feeling to go out there and create that story. The guys are ready, the guys are eager to get started and we’re eager to get involved.”

Beard is likely to be among a number of British and Irish Lions on last year’s tour of South Africa who featured in the Welsh starting line-up.

That experience, albeit behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, will no doubt be of benefit to Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

“It was the experience of going on tour, meeting people from different countries, learning from people,” Beard said.

“Getting a test match (look) was an amazing experience.

“Looking at South Africa, they are a great physical team who pride themselves on set pieces and being physical and direct.

“Those are the kind of games I enjoy and I feel like that’s when I win and I can use my points difference.”

Wayne Pivac will name his side on Thursday

Wayne Pivac will name his side on Thursday

Pivac is due to announce his starting line-up on Thursday for Wales’s first clash with the Springboks in South Africa since 2014, and there are likely to be a number of changes from the team beaten 22-21 by Six Nations opponents Italy three months ago. behind.

Three of that team — Johnny McNicholl, Uilisi Halaholo and Seb Davies — are not on the road, but Pivac is buoyed by players like George North and Dan Lydiate who are available following long-term injuries.

Both players have been out of Test rugby for over a year, with the last time they wore Wales colors during the 2021 Six Nations. North looks set to start at outside centre, while Lydiate, 34, , could claim jersey number six.

Elsewhere, fullback Liam Williams, scrum-half Tomos Williams and prop Tomas Francis are all set to return, and Pivac must decide whether to retain 150-time international Alun Wyn Jones in the second row, with Beard and Will Rowlands also pressing hard. for starting places.

Bumper July Rugby on Sky Sports

Wednesday, June 29

Maori All Blacks vs Ireland – Live sky sports action from 8 am (the start is at 8.05 am)

Saturday, July 2

New Zealand vs Ireland – Live sky sports action starting at 7:30 am (start at 8:05 am)

Australia vs England – Live sky sports action from 10:15 (start at 10:55)

South Africa vs Wales – Live sky sports action from 15:30 (start at 16:05)

Argentina vs Scotland – Live sky sports action from 7:30 p.m. (start at 8:10 p.m.)

Saturday, July 9

New Zealand vs Ireland – Live sky sports action starting at 7:30 am (start at 8:05 am)

Australia vs England – Live sky sports action from 10:15 (start at 10:55)

South Africa vs Wales – Live sky sports action from 15:30 (start at 16:05)

Argentina vs Scotland – Live sky sports action from 7:30 p.m. (start at 8:10 p.m.)

Tuesday, July 12

Maori All Blacks vs Ireland – Live sky sports action from 8 am (the start is at 8.05 am)

Saturday, July 16

New Zealand vs Ireland – Live sky sports action starting at 7:30 am (start at 8:05 am)

Australia vs England – Live sky sports action from 10:15 (start at 10:55)

South Africa vs Wales – Live sky sports action from 15:30 (start at 16:05)

Argentina vs Scotland – Live sky sports action from 7:30 p.m. (start at 8:10 p.m.)

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