Assembling one of the most representative squads in Bok history wasn't difficult‚ says Erasmus
The average age of Rassie Erasmus’ side to play England at Ellis Park on Saturday is 25‚ but in perhaps a more illuminating pointer to the future‚ he selected eight black players to meet the side in white.
Erasmus on Thursday didn’t light fireworks to mark the occasion‚ instead he spoke in practical terms of what he needs to do to prepare his side for the demands they will face next year.
Either way‚ he will come out smelling like roses if he wins this series.
Last week he selected seven black players in an experimental side that played Wales and this week in compiling his best available unit‚ he went one better.
“It wasn’t difficult‚” he said when asked about his assembly of one of the most representative squads in Bok history.
“We followed the players closely in Super Rugby.
"We were in communication with the Super Rugby coaches. There were work ons for players to work on. We need to build squad depth. I’m very comfortable.”
The starting team features debutants lock RG Snyman‚ as well as wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and S’bu Nkosi.
“S’bu was close to making the side last year already‚” reminded Erasmus.
“This year he’s been physical and doing a lot of great work on attack and defence and has improved in the areas which we thought he may be vulnerable.
“Aphiwe is an exciting youngster. He’s playing at home. He has performed consistently well at centre and wing for the Lions.
“RG has without a doubt been one of the stand-out second rowers in South Africa.
"Form has been rewarded for those guys‚” he explained the virtues that earned the newcomers the nod.
The team also features a return for fullback Willie le Roux‚ who enjoyed a stellar season with Wasps. The last time he played for the Boks was in Italy in 2016.
Tighthead Trevor Nyakane has a niggle and has been bracketed with Wilco Louw in the starting team.
The Bok bench features last week’s debutants Ivan van Zyl‚ Thomas du Toit‚ Akker van der Merwe and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
Springboks to play England
Willie le Roux; S’Busiso Nkosi‚ Lukhanyo Am‚ Damian de Allende‚ Aphiwe Dyantyi; Handre Pollard‚ Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen‚ Jean-Luc du Preez‚ Siya Kolisi (captain); Franco Mostert‚ RG Snyman; Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw‚ Bongi Mbonambi‚ Tendai Mtawarira.
Akker van der Merwe‚ Steven Kitshoff‚ Thomas du Toit‚ Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ Sikhumbuzo Notshe; Ivan van Zyl‚ Elton Jantjies‚ Warrick Gelant.