South Africa vs Wales on Sky Sports: Springboks’ Damian Willemse and Elton Jantjies start 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 the open 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 was preferred to regular starter Handre Pollard, who contested the French Top 14 final victory for Montpellier on Friday, while Willemse is chosen ahead of the much more experienced Willie le Roux.

It suggests the Boks could be looking to run with the ball in hand and move away slightly from their reliance on a kicking game, looking instead to wear down the Welsh at altitude before unleashing their powerful forwards from the bench.

The rest of the back line 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, lock duo 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 several quite versatile players, so a guy like Damian Willemse can cover the fly-half and the cross in addition to the full-back, while Kwagga (Smith) covers each of the loose forward positions and can same lunge on the wing with his Blitzbok (Repts) experience,” said head coach Jacques Nienaber.

Uncapped lock Salmaan Moerat and loose striker Elrigh Louw have been named among the substitutes and will almost certainly get a run as the Boks use their 6-2 split off the bench in the second half to add fresh muscle to the squad.

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The pair faced off in Cape Town earlier this month when Moerat Stormers beat the Bulls in the inaugural United Rugby Championship final.

“We have a fantastic generation of young players who have really worked hard to train and get their hands dirty, and it’s a pleasure for us as coaches to give Salmaan and Elrigh this opportunity.” , said Nienaber.

“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 taking stock of the seasoned campaigners and where they are in terms of rugby. “

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

The Boks' last test ended in defeat against England last November

The Boks’ last test ended in defeat against 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 against last year’s Guinness Six Nations champions, with Wales’ degree of difficulty heightened by the opening two games – in Pretoria and Bloemfontein – at altitude.

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

“It’s obviously going to be tough, physically and mentally,” said Wales lockkeeper Beard.

“We are in a very good space as a team. We have trained well and we know what is at stake here – to create our own piece of history.

Adam Beard wants Wales to make history in South Africa

Adam Beard wants Wales to make history in South Africa

“It would be a great feeling to go out there and create that story. The boys are ready, the boys can’t wait to go, and we can’t wait to get there.”

Beard is likely to be among a number of British and Irish Lions on last year’s South African tour, with the starting line-up from Wales.

This experience, albeit in games behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, will no doubt benefit Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

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

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

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

“It’s the kind of games I love and I feel like it’s when I find strengths and can use my points of difference.”

Wayne Pivac will name his team on Thursday

Wayne Pivac will name his team on Thursday

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

Three of that squad – Johnny McNicholl, Uilisi Halaholo and Seb Davies – aren’t on the circuit, but Pivac is boosted by players like George North and Dan Lydiate available through long-term injuries.

Both players have been out of Test rugby for over a year, last playing for Wales at the 2021 Six Nations. North looks set to start outside centre, while Lydiate, 34 years, could recover the jersey number six.

Elsewhere, full-back Liam Williams, scrum-half Tomos Williams and prop Tomas Francis are set for comebacks, and Pivac must decide whether to keep 150-time capped Alun Wyn Jones second, with Beard and Will Rowlands also pushing strong for places of departure.

July Rugby Shield on Sky Sports

Wednesday, June 29

Maori All Blacks vs Ireland – Live Sky Sports Action from 8 a.m. (kick-off at 8:05 a.m.)

Saturday July 2

New Zealand vs Ireland – Live Sky Sports Action from 7:30 a.m. (kick-off at 8:05 a.m.)

Australia vs England – Live Sky Sports Action from 10.15 a.m. (kick-off at 10.55 a.m.)

South Africa vs Wales – live Sky Sports Action from 3:30 p.m. (kick-off at 4:05 p.m.)

Argentina vs Scotland – Live Sky Sports Action from 7:30 p.m. (kick-off at 8:10 p.m.)

Saturday July 9

New Zealand vs Ireland – Live Sky Sports Action from 7:30 a.m. (kick-off at 8:05 a.m.)

Australia vs England – Live Sky Sports Action from 10.15 a.m. (kick-off at 10.55 a.m.)

South Africa vs Wales – live Sky Sports Action from 3:30 p.m. (kick-off at 4:05 p.m.)

Argentina vs Scotland – Live Sky Sports Action from 7:30 p.m. (kick-off at 8:10 p.m.)

tuesday july 12

Maori All Blacks vs Ireland – Live Sky Sports Action from 8 a.m. (kick-off at 8:05 a.m.)

Saturday July 16

New Zealand vs Ireland – Live Sky Sports Action from 7:30 a.m. (kick-off at 8:05 a.m.)

Australia vs England – Live Sky Sports Action from 10.15 a.m. (kick-off at 10.55 a.m.)

South Africa vs Wales – live Sky Sports Action from 3:30 p.m. (kick-off at 4:05 p.m.)

Argentina vs Scotland – Live Sky Sports Action from 7:30 p.m. (kick-off at 8:10 p.m.)

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