Experienced lock Eben Etzebeth was on Wednesday named as Springbok captain for Saturday’s first Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against Australia in Johannesburg, while Rynhardt Elstadt (loose forward) and Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) will both make their Test debuts on the Highveld.
The game is the first in the Springboks’ shortened 2019 Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign, which also consists of away matches against New Zealand and Argentina. Kick-off on Saturday is at 17h05 and the match will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Etzebeth takes over the captaincy from regular skipper Siya Kolisi, who is recovering from a knee injury, while Aphiwe Dyantyi was also not considered for selection because of a hamstring injury. It will be Etzebeth’s 12th Test as Bok captain.
Elstadt (Toulouse, France) and Jantjies (DHL Stormers) are the only two uncapped players in the starting team, while Lizo Gqoboka (prop, Vodacom Bulls) is also set to earn his debut off the bench.
Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, said he and the Springbok team are excited for the start of the international season.
“The squad have trained together for more than three weeks and this match is important for us to start a very important rugby year,” said Erasmus.
“We are excited for the forthcoming year and I want to congratulate Rynhardt, Herschel and Lizo on their first inclusion in a Springbok match-day squad, while the leadership role is not something new for Eben. The build-up has been good and there is definitely a very good vibe for match.