Jesse Kriel excited to see 'special' duo Willemse, Jantjies unleashed on Wales

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 Damian Willemse. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze / AFP)
Damian Willemse. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze / AFP)
  • Springbok utility back Jesse Kriel said it was exciting seeing Damian Willemse and Herschel Jantjies start in Saturday's Test against Wales.
  • With Willemse at fullback and Makazole Mapimpi on the left wing, Kriel will be the most experienced member of the back three.
  • There's a possibility of Kriel having to mark Josh Adams, who was the top try-scorer in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Springbok utility back Jesse Kriel said the thought of having Damian Willemse and Herschel Jantjies in the starting XV for Saturday's Test against Wales was an exciting one. 

As the most experienced of the back three with more than 40 caps, he's got the task of guiding the lesser seasoned, but highly talented Willemse.

Kriel said he's not only got confidence in the two players but in the rest of the squad to deliver the goods at the Principality Stadium.

"I have confidence in every single player in this team and we've got an unbelievable squad," Kriel said.

"The guys work really hard and they are highly capable. Damian Willemse is a special player and we all know what he can do.

"Herschel is also a special player and they have unbelievable skill-sets. They're champing at the bit to get onto the field on Saturday.

"It's exciting and it's nice for guys to get a run and get into a different role this weekend to show how they can contribute to the team."

While the Welsh are set to make several changes to the side that was schooled by the All Blacks last week, Kriel faces the prospect of having to deal with Josh Adams.

Adams scored four tries in one game for the British & Irish Lions in a tour game against the Lions but unlike Kriel, he featured in a British & Irish Lions Test.

Kriel acknowledged the quality of the Welsh winger, who was the top try-scorer at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

"He's a quality player and I have played against him a few times here in Cardiff. I also watched him during the Lions series," Kriel said.

"He's really good and quite an important player for them. He brings a lot of energy and we'll be looking forward to the challenge.

"I'll be focussing on what we need to get right and focussing on what we need to do as a team."

Saturday's Test kicks off at 19:30 (SA time).




South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

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