South Africa will field a Montpellier hinge made up of scrum half Cobus Reinach and opener Handre Pollard against Georgia, Friday in Pretoria, for their first match since their world title won on November 2, 2019 in Japan.
The Springboks have not played since their success in the World Cup final ahead of England (32-12) in Yokohama due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
They host Georgia twice, Friday and July 9 in Johannesburg, in preparation for three test matches against the British and Irish Lions on July 24 in Cape Town, then July 31 and August 7 in Johannesburg.
On Sunday, three cases of Covid had been detected within the Springboks team, threatening the Lions' tour in a country hit by a new wave of contaminations.
Two of them, Sibusiso Nkosi and Vincent Koch, are still in solitary confinement.
I don't think the tour is in danger,
" however, said South African coach Jacques Nienaber to the press.
With a virus, I do not think that we can completely eliminate the risk of contracting it, but the precautions taken to protect ourselves as much as possible are magic and we respect them,
" he added.
There is not a single player who does not wish to participate in this tour because it is very special and only arrives every twelve years
", insisted the coach.
Before returning to the Lions, and for this first duel with the “
”, Jacques Nienaber integrated two neophytes into his starting XV.
They are wingers Rosko Specman and Aphelele Fassi, according to the roster unveiled on Tuesday.
In addition to Reinach and Pollard, a third player playing in the Top 14 is one of the holders: the second row of Toulon Eben Etzebeth.
Cheslin Kolbe, Stade Toulouse winger, crowned French champion last Friday, joined South Africa on Monday and is therefore not among the twenty-three players selected.
Another player in the French championship is on the bench, Pau opener Elton Jantjies.
Only six members of the team that started the 2019 World Cup final appear in the starting XV (Etzebeth, Pollard, Willie Le Roux, captain Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi and Pieter-Steph du Toit). rest, others like the N.8 Duane Vermeulen were injured.
The pillar Tendai Mtawarira, nicknamed "
", has retired.
Holder - W. le Roux - Specman, Kriel, Steyn, Fassi - (o) Pollard, (m) Reinach - du Toit, Smith, Kolisi (cap.) - Mostert, Etzebeth - Nyakane, Mbonambi, Nché
Alternates: Marx, Kitshoff, Malherbe, Orie, Wiese, H. Jantjies, E. Jantjies, D. Willemse