Bok coach Rassie: We have a specific plan

Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says it's important to give game time to as many players in the squad during a shortened Rugby Championship.

Erasmus was speaking after naming his team for Saturday's opener against Australia at Ellis Park.

The Bok mentor named an experimental side, with several frontline players not included as they will depart for New Zealand early for next weekend's Test against the All Blacks in Wellington.

Lock Eben Etzebeth captains the Boks on Saturday, with three players set to make their Test debuts.

The uncapped Rynhardt Elstadt (flank) and Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) are in the starting XV, while Lizo Gqoboka (prop) is set to earn his debut off the bench.

"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. 

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan looming, the coach added that all three Rugby Championship matches were vital.

"We want to win the Rugby Championship and we have a specific plan, which starts Saturday with the first Test against the Wallabies," said Erasmus.

"We have planned to mix things up in the first two Tests of the season, in order to give game time to as many of the players in our wider squad, and we believe this is the right combination to face a very good and competitive Australian side. 

"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. 

"Australia have prepared very well for this match and they have spent two weeks at altitude to acclimatise to the Highveld, so we are in for a great contest," added Erasmus.

Kick-off for Saturday clash is scheduled for 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds

Australia

TBA

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