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Aphiwe Dyantyi and Sibusiso Nkosi look set for Bok Test debuts against England

05 June 2018 - 17:34 By Liam Del Carme
Aphiwe Dyantyi of the Springboks during the Springbok training session at St Stithians College on May 29, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Aphiwe Dyantyi of the Springboks during the Springbok training session at St Stithians College on May 29, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and Sibusiso Nkosi look set for Test debuts when the Springboks clash with England at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Bok coach Rassie Erasmus more than dropped a hint that‚ that may be the case upon his return from Washington‚ while scrumhalf Faf de Klerk all but confirmed it when he addressed the media on Tuesday.

Dyantyi and Nkosi were spared the trip to Washington for the clash against Wales last week‚ which led to the reasonable assumption that they will see combat against England.

Both have impressed with ball in hand this season with Dyantyi making an electrifying start to his Super Rugby career.

He scored five tries in his five matches before a pectoral muscle injury halted his season.

The impact he made in the first month or so however‚ was enough to earn him a tick in the selector’s book.

Nkosi‚ who moved to Durban after matriculating in Johannesburg represented the UKZN Impi in the Varsity Cup before earning a spot in the SA u20 squad. He has impressed with his leg driving ball carries for the Sharks this season.

The wing pair represent the changing face in the Springbok set-up grizzled No8 Duane Vermeulen referred to when he weighed up the current and previous Boks squads in which he had been involved.

“We’ve got wings and outside backs that are exciting - players South African rugby have missed. It is nice to watch.

"I’m looking forward to working with the guys‚” said Vermeulen on Tuesday.

The No8 is hoping the Boks can now break the shackles that have inhibited them in recent seasons.

“We now have a completely different approach from the previous coaches I played under‚" he said.

"It gives you more clarity and more freedom.

"There are structures but we can also play running rugby. We have a lot coming. It is about how well we prepare from one week to the next.”

He said the changing faces in the set-up will make the Springboks harder to predict for the opposition.

“They don’t know what we can bring to the table‚" he said.

"There is no focus on England.

"They might think it will be the old South African style‚ but you might be surprised by the way we play.”

The series‚ which Vermeulen described as a pressure cooker‚ is likely to be decided at close quarters and England coach Eddie Jones has repeatedly stressed the importance of his side facing up to the physical challenge the Boks are likely to lay down.

On that score‚ Vermeulen knows there will be times he will go chest to chest with England’s backrow wrecking ball Billy Vunipola.

“I don’t know who’s starting‚” Vermeulen suggested a little mischievously.

“It can only be Billy‚ I think. Billy and his brother Mako are definitely big carriers. They get England on the front foot.

"We need to prepare well for them and we need to step up to that challenge. I’m kinda looking forward‚ if I get the opportunity‚ to play against him at Test level. I’ve only played against him at club level.”

Vermeulen‚ who at some point was touted for the Bok captaincy reins‚ lauded the appointment of former teammate Siya Kolisi.

“He is a great choice. He’s a good leader. A lot of guys look up to him. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s a guy that can inspire this group.”