Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jamba Ulengo and Uzair Cassiem will make their Springbok debuts against Wales in the Principality Stadium on Saturday, while a fourth uncapped player, Jean-Luc du Preez, has been included on the bench for the final match of the 2016 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.
Strongly-built inside centre Janse van Rensburg, who takes over from Damian de Allende in a rotational switch, and winger Ulengo, who is in for Bryan Habana, are part of a reshuffled backline announced by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday.
Both Janse van Rensburg and Ulengo played for South Africa in the international match against the Barbarians three weeks ago at Wembley Stadium in London, but will now become officially capped Springboks.
Cassiem, who didn’t feature against the Baabaas, will also get his Test debut after Willem Alberts was ruled out because of a neck niggle.
A new-look backline also sees the return of Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) as halfback combination, while there is a further change at fullback, with Johan Goosen named to start in the No 15 jersey.
In the other change upfront, Lourens Adriaanse comes in at tighthead in place of Vincent Koch, which means that 14 players who will be based in South Africa for Vodacom Super Rugby in 2017 will start against Wales, with a further seven on the bench.Coetzee said the revamped side was picked as result of a combination of factors. Apart from rotational changes and injuries, some of the selections were made with the building process towards 2019 in mind. The total amount of caps amongst the backs are 40, the lowest amount since 1994.
“We have a less experienced team, but I want to see some energy and an improved performance. Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and necessity to build towards 2019,” said Coetzee.
“Uzair was impressive during our domestic competitions and he was man of the match in the Currie Cup final. He made a good impression during the build-up to the Barbarians match and has continued to work hard on this tour since re-joining us.
“Jamba, Uzair and Rohan are examples of players who have forced their way into the squad through consistently performing well on the domestic scene and during training on tour, and now they are getting their opportunities to play for the Boks. Even though Damian played well against England and Italy we felt Rohan deserved an opportunity.
Regarding the change in the front row, the coach added: “Lourens played well whenever he was selected and he too deserves his opportunity.”
Regarding the challenge of facing Wales at home in front of a passionate crowd of 75,000 at the Principality Stadium, Coetzee said he expects another huge battle between the two sides.
“Recent matches between us have always delivered close fought battles and small point margins and I expect more of the same on Saturday,” said Coetzee.
The Springbok team to face Wales in Cardiff is:
|15||Johan Goosen||Racing 92 (France)||12||25|
|14||Ruan Combrinck||Xerox Golden Lions||6||15|
|13||Francois Venter||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||2||0|
|12||Rohan Janse van Rensburg||Xerox Golden Lions||0||0|
|11||Jamba Ulengo||Vodacom Blue Bulls||0||0|
|10||Elton Jantjies||NTT Shining Arcs (Japan)||10||72|
|9||Faf de Klerk||Xerox Golden Lions||10||0|
|8||Warren Whiteley||Docomo Red Hurricanes (Japan)||14||15|
|7||Uzair Cassiem||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||0||0|
|6||Nizaam Carr||DHL Western Province||4||0|
|5||Lood de Jager||Vodacom Blue Bulls||27||20|
|4||Pieter-Steph du Toit||DHL Western Province||19||15|
|3||Lourens Adriaanse||Cell C Sharks||5||0|
|2||Adriaan Strauss (captain)||Vodacom Blue Bulls||65||30|
|1||Tendai Mtawarira||Cell C Sharks||86||10|
|16||Malcolm Marx||Xerox Golden Lions||1||0|
|17||Steven Kitshoff||Bordeaux (France)||9||0|
|18||Trevor Nyakane||Vodacom Blue Bulls||27||5|
|19||Franco Mostert||Ricoh Black Rams (Japan)||6||0|
|20||Jean-Luc du Preez||Cell C Sharks||0||0|
|21||Piet van Zyl||Vodacom Blue Bulls||2||0|
|22||Pat Lambie||Cell C Sharks||55||151|
|23||Lionel Mapoe||Kubota Spears (Japan)||10||0|
Stats and facts:
Head to head:
- Wales and South Africa will play in their 32nd Test match since their first Test match in 1906. South Africa won 28 and lost two with one Test match drawn.
- The biggest win against Wales was in June, 1998 in Pretoria when the Springboks thrashed Wales 96-13. The 96 points scored being the 4th highest total points in South African Test match history.
- This Saturday, Wales will be looking at back to back wins at this venue as they won Jean de Villiers’ Springboks two years ago 12-6. The date was 29 November, 2014.
- South Africa’s complete record against Wales is: P: 31; W: 28; L: 2; D: 1; PF: 837; PA: 459; TF: 102; TA: 37; Percentage won: 90%; Average score: 27-15.
Team match records against Wales:
- Highest score – 96-13 in Pretoria, 1998
- Most points conceded – 36 in Cardiff, 2004
- Most tries – 15 in Pretoria, 1998
- Most tries conceded – 3 on four occasions
Individual match records against Wales:
- Most points – 31 by Percy Montgomery in Pretoria, 1998
- Most tries – 3 by Joost van der Westhuizen in Cardiff, 1996 and Pieter Rossouw in Pretoria, 1998
- Most conversions – 9 by Percy Montgomery in Pretoria, 1998
- Most penalty goals – 5 by Butch James (Bloemfontein, 2008), Morné Steyn (Cardiff, 2010) and Handré Pollard (London, 2015)
- Most drop goals – 1 by Hansie Brewis in Cardiff, 1951, Lionel Wilson in Durban, 1964 and Handré Pollard in London, 2015
Career records against Wales:
- Most appearances – 13 by Victor Matfield
- Most points – 91 by Percy Montgomery
- Most tries – 6 by Joost van der Westhuizen and Jean de Villiers
- Most conversions – 18 by Percy Montgomery
- Most penalty goals – 10 by Percy Montgomery
- Most drop goals – 1 by Hansie Brewis in Cardiff, 1951; Lionel Wilson in Durban, 1964; and Handré Pollard in London, 2015
- The match officials for this match are: Referee – Romain Poite (France); Assistant referees – Greg Garner (England) and Tom Foley (England) with the TMO Graham Hughes (England).
- It will be Poite’s seventh appearance as referee in Test matches involving South Africa. The Springboks won three of the previous six with Poite in charge.
- Principality Stadium, previously known as the Millennium Stadium, was opened in June, 1999 and the first International Rugby match was against South Africa on 26 June, 1999.
- Wales won their first ever Test match against the Springboks on that day 29-19 before a crowd of 27 683.
- The last time South Africa played at this stadium was on 29 November, 2014 against Wales. Wales won 12-6 for only their second win against South Africa in 30 encounters.
- The total Test caps in the starting line-up are 260, of which there are 40 caps in the backline and 220 among the forwards. The combined Test caps of those on the bench are 110. The average caps per player for the match-23 are 18.
- With only 40 caps in the backline this is the most inexperienced Springbok backline since 1994.
- The youngest player in the starting lineup is Rohan Janse van Rensburg (22y, 2m) while the oldest member of the team is Tendai Mtawarira (31y, 3m).
- The tallest player in the squad is Lood de Jager (2.05m), the heaviest is Steven Kitshoff (125kg), and Faf de Klerk is both the shortest (1.72m) and the lightest (80kg).
- Adriaan Strauss and Tendai Mtawarira will play in their 12th consecutive Test in the starting XV under Allister Coetzee’s reign.
- The new Springboks will be Jamba Ulengo (Springbok #878), Rohan Janse van Rensburg (#879) and Uzair Cassiem (#880), with a possible first cap to Jean-Luc du Preez (#881).
- Apart from the debutants, six players in the starting line-up will face Wales for the first time in a Test match: Lourens Adriaanse, Warren Whiteley, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Francois Venter and Ruan Combrinck.
- Of the 23 players, Tendai Mtawarira is the most capped player against Wales with nine appearances.
- Adriaan Strauss, who made his Test debut against Australia in 2008, will retire from international rugby after this Test. He will have played in 66 Test matches of which 12 were as captain.
Milestones and records:
- One try by South Africa in this Test match will bring up the 1 300th try in Springbok Test rugby.