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South Africa ‘A’ coach Johan Ackermann included four forwards with Test experience – team captain Oupa Mohoje, Nizaam Carr, Stephan Lewies and Vincent Koch – in his starting team for Friday’s first match against the England Saxons in Bloemfontein.

The match – the first of two against the visiting Saxons – kicks off at 19h10 at the Toyota Stadium in the Free State capital and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Ackermann has also included a further two Springboks on the bench, in Coenie Oosthuizen and Piet van Zyl. They will be joined in the SA ‘A’ match-23 by six players who only got their first taste of Vodacom Super Rugby earlier this year, in Leolin Zas, JD Schickerling (both starting), Lizo Gqoboka Jean-Luc du Preez, RG Snyman and Lukhanyo Am (all four on the bench).

The four members of the Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland, who were released to the SA ‘A’ squad, will all start on Friday. They are Garth April (flyhalf), Nic Groom (scrumhalf), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (flank) and Scarra Ntubeni (hooker).“I think we have a brilliant mix of experienced players who have tasted what Test rugby is all about, as well as the four members of the Springbok squad, and exciting youngsters who will be pushing for higher honours in the coming seasons,” said Ackermann.

“There is a lot of value in having players with Test and Vodacom Super Rugby experience working with these youngsters and I’m sure we’ll see some excitement on the field on Friday.

“But we’re up against a very formidable opponent and the Saxons have been together for a long time already, so our players know that they have to sharp, focused and on top of their game for the full 80 minutes on Friday.”

The second encounter between the SA ‘A’ side and the England Saxons is next Friday at Outeniqua Park in George.

The SA ‘A’ team to face the England Saxons in Bloemfontein:

Nr Name Franchise / Province
15 Leolin Zas DHL Stormers
14 Travis Ismaiel Vodacom Bulls
13 Francois Venter (vice-captain) Toyota Cheetahs
12 Howard Mnisi Emirates Lions
11 Courtnall Skosan Emirates Lions
10 Garth April Cell C Sharks
9 Nic Groom DHL Stormers
8 Nizaam Carr DHL Stormers
7 Oupa Mohoje (captain) Toyota Cheetahs
6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe DHL Stormers
5 Stephan Lewies Cell C Sharks
4 JD Schickerling DHL Stormers
3 Vincent Koch DHL Stormers / Steval Pumas
2 Scarra Ntubeni DHL Stormers
1 Thomas du Toit Cell C Sharks
16 Malcolm Marx Emirates Lions
17 Lizo Gqoboka Vodacom Bulls
18 Coenie Oosthuizen Cell C Sharks
19 RG Snyman Vodacom Bulls
20 Jean-Luc du Preez Cell C Sharks
21 Piet van Zyl Vodacom Bulls
22 Francois Brummer Vodacom Bulls / Steval Pumas
23 Lukhanyo Am Southern Kings / Cell C Sharks
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