The Springbok XV team that will be announced next week for the match against the World XV will contain a number of shock selections.
Keo.co.za has reliably learnt the starting line-up for the unofficial Test at Ellis Park on June 3. It differs greatly from several predictions this past week, but at Fridayâ€™s â€œcaptainâ€™s runâ€, the thinking in the Bok camp became much clearer. And a source close to the camp confirmed what is an exciting and youthful squad.
Uncapped lock pair Andries Bekker and Johann Muller will combine in the second row, while Ricky Januarie and Meyer Bosman will be the halfback pairing. Also, Bulls inside centre Wynand Olivier is to be switched to the No 13 jersey with De Wet Barry alongside him.
Olivier is considered by many as one of the brightest future Boks and his display in this game will be keenly watched. As expected the wings are experienced duo Gaffie du Toit (left) and Andre Snyman (right). Brent Russell gets his chance at fullback.
But as predicted by this site, AJ Venter, will be asked to captain the team in the absence of John Smit. Venter will be skipper when the Boks play a Free State Shimla side in a warm-up match at Vodacom Park this evening. He is expected to be formally announced as captain only next week though.
He has beaten off the challenge from Wikus van Heerden to lead the team, but the Cats flanker will play in the No 7 jersey alongside Venter who will start at No 8.
Baring injury, it seems coach Jake White and co are using this game to experiment with some youngsters ahead of more important matches later in June. It is unlikely that many of these players will feature against Scotland in Durban on June 10.
The front-row of Deon Carstens, Hanyani Shimange and Lawrence Sephaka will have their work cut out, especially with former Bok strongman Cobus Visagie out to prove a thing or two.
Springbok XV to play the World XV:
15 Brent Russell
14 Andre Snyman
13 Wynand Olivier
12 De Wet Barry
11 Gaffie du Toit
10 Meyer Bosman
9 Ricky Januarie
8 AJ Venter (captain)
7 Wikus van Heerden
6 Joe van Niekerk
5 Johann Muller
4 Andries Bekker
3 Lawrence Sephaka
2 Hanyani Shimange
1 Deon Carstens
16 Gary Botha
17 Jannie du Plessis
18 Albert van den Berg/ Danie Rossouw
19 Juan Smith
20 Ruan Pienaar
21 Jaco van der Westhuyzen
22 Wayne Julies
By Andrew Hollely, in Bloemfontein