JOHANNESBURG — It’s a team of captains. Rassie Erasmus has named a team including 5 Springbok captains for Saturday’s Test match against England at Twickenham. Siya Kolisi takes charge, with Eben Etzebeth, Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Warren Whiteley in the pack – all of whom have captained the national team. The English media attention is on Malcolm Marx making his debut against England, after missing the 3-Test series in June this year due to injury. He is at the centre of surely the best pack that Erasmus has had at his disposal all year, primarily due to the mobile and powerful Du Toit going back to lock and the return of Vermeulen who excelled against England but missed out on the Rugby Championship due to club commitments in Japan. With wet and cold conditions expected for Saturday’s match, Erasmus is likely to concentrate his game plan on the huge, physical forwards, particularly as there are potential weaknesses at scrumhalf and fullback with the absence of Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux, who weren’t released by their English clubs. If ever there was a time for Ivan van Zyl and Damian Willemse to step up, Saturday at Twickenham is that time. Eddie Jones’s England team is co-captained by hooker Dylan Hartley and flyhalf Owen Farrell. Farrell has played centre in 27 of his past 30 Test matches. His move to the number 10 jersey gives an opening to Ben Te’o who has only played half an hour of rugby since May due to injury. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
Duane Vermeulen and Warren Whiteley both return to the Springbok starting team and together with Siya Kolisi (captain) they will form a new-look loose forward combination for Saturday’s Castle Lager Outgoing Tour Test against England at Twickenham.
The much-anticipated Test will kick off the Springboks’ four-match tour of the United Kingdom and France, which also includes Tests against France, Scotland and Wales. Kick-off at Twickenham is 15h00 (17h00 SA time) and the Test will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
The Springboks have announced a side with seven changes to the starting 15 which lined up against New Zealand three weeks ago in Pretoria. No European-based players were considered for selection because the match falls outside the international Test window.
The reshuffled loose trio now consists of Whiteley at No 8 and Vermeulen at blindside flank, while Kolisi retains his spot on the openside. This means a return to lock for Pieter-Steph du Toit, who has played mostly in the No 7 jersey so far this year.
Whiteley has recovered from the groin injury which ruled him out of the Boks’ last two Tests, against the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth and the All Blacks in Pretoria, while Vermeulen missed the entire Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign after he played a pivotal role in South Africa’s 2-1 series win over England in June.
Du Toit fills the vacant position of Franco Mostert and resumes his provincial second row partnership with Eben Etzebeth, who is the most experienced player in the team with 73 Test appearances.
The front row of Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe has been retained for the London fixture. With the experienced Tendai Mtawarira sidelined due to a neck injury, Thomas du Toit has been included on the bench.
Who remembers these classic @Springboks tries at Twickenham?
Which is your favourite?pic.twitter.com/APugMtkoYX
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) November 1, 2018
Meanwhile, Lood de Jager is also included amongst the replacements and he is set to make his first Springbok appearance of 2018. The big lock has missed all the Springbok matches played so far this year as a result of a lengthy injury layoff.
There are also three changes to the backline. Damian Willemse is set to make his starting debut for the Springboks at fullback. Willemse has made three appearances off the bench already and he comes into the starting team in place of Willie le Roux, while Sbu Nkosi returns to right wing in place of Cheslin Kolbe.
Ivan van Zyl, who made his only start against Wales in June in Washington DC and has made three Springbok appearances altogether, gets the nod at scrumhalf.
Rassie Erasmus, the SA Director of Rugby, said the Twickenham showdown will be a huge test of character for his side.
“England will be desperate to win this one at Twickenham and they will select a formidable side,” said Erasmus.
“This match will be a huge tactical affair with much of the outcome depending on how you handle the set phases and kicking game.”
The Springbok team to face against England in London (in order of name, surname, province, Test caps, Test points):
15. Damian Willemse (DHL Western Province, 3, 0)
14. Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks, 3, 10 – 2t)
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 36, 50 – 10t)
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Western Province, 33, 20 – 4t)
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (Xerox Golden Lions, 9, 30 – 6t)
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 35, 293 – 3t, 55c, 53p, 3d)
9. Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 3, 0)
8. Warren Whiteley (Xerox Golden Lions , 21, 15 – 3t)
7. Duane Vermeulen (Kubota Spears, Japan, 42, 15 – 3t)
6. Siya Kolisi (captain, DHL Western Province, 37, 25 – 5t)
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Western Province, 42, 20 – 4t)
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Western Province, 73, 15 – 3t)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Western Province, 25, 0)
2. Malcolm Marx (Xerox Golden Lions, 20, 20 – 4t)
1. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Western Province, 33, 5 – 1t)
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Western Province, 10 – 2t)
17. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks, 5, 0)
18. Wilco Louw (DHL Western Province, 11, 0)
19. RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 8, 0)
20. Lood de Jager (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 36, 20 – 4t)
21. Embrose Papier (Vodacom Blue Bulls, 4, 0)
22. Elton Jantjies (Xerox Golden Lions, 29, 223 – 2t, 42c, 43p)
23. André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks, 5, 0)
Stats and facts:
- The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 415. There are 122 caps in the backline and 293 amongst the forwards, with a further 120 caps on the bench.
- The average caps per player in the backline are 17, the forwards 37 and those on the bench average 15. The average age of the starting 15 is 26 years.
- Eben Etzebeth is the most experienced player in the squad and the most capped player in the team against England with six appearances against the Roses.
- Malcolm Marx and Damian Willemse are the only two players who have never played in a Test match against England.
- The first Test match on this famous ground took place on 15 January, 1910 when England hosted Wales before a crowd of 18,000. At the time the seating capacity was 20,000.
- Today, Twickenham is regarded as the largest dedicated rugby union stadium in the world, with a seating capacity of 82,000.
- The first Springbok Test match against England on this ground was on 4 January, 1913. The Springboks emerged victorious 9-3 in front of 29,000 spectators.
- To date, South Africa have played in 20 Test matches against England at Twickenham. The record is: P: 20; W: 11; L: 9; PF: 335; PA: 361; TF: 32; TA: 33; Average score: 17-18; Win%: 55%.
- The top Springbok scorers against England at Twickenham are Pat Lambie (36 points), Chester Williams, Willem Alberts and Bryan Habana (two tries each), Lambie (eight penalty goals) and Andre Pretorius (four drop goals).
- The match records are held by André Pretorius (20 points and four drop goals), Chester Williams (two tries), and Braam van Straaten (four penalty goals).
Overall record against England:
- South Africa’s overall record against England is: P: 41; W: 25; L: 14; D: 2; PF: 876; PA: 705; TF: 82; TA: 54; Average score: 21-17. Win%: 61%.
- South Africa’s biggest win against England (48 points) was in 2007 in Bloemfontein when the Springboks ran in seven tries to register a comprehensive win of 58-10.
- The Springboks’ biggest loss to England was on 23 November, 2002 at Twickenham when the home team ran out winners 53-3. On that occasion, Jannes Labuschagne was red carded in the 23rd minute for a late tackle on Jonny Wilkinson.
- Handré Pollard needs seven points to reach 300 career points for South Africa.
- The referee is Australian Angus Gardner. To date, Gardner has refereed in 17 Test matches, five of which involving South Africa, with the Springboks winning two of those.
- The two assistant referees are Jérôme Garcès (France) and Ben Whitehouse (Wales), while Irishman Olly Hodges is the TMO.