Springboks to make history with all-black front-row

Trevor Nyakane (Gallo Images)
Trevor Nyakane (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springboks will make double history on Saturday with the first starting all-black front-row - and first black skipper - against England in their first Test at Ellis Park.

READ: GREAT DEBATE: Springboks v England ... who will win?

That's the likely reality after the Boks were put through their paces under the watchful eye of new coach Rassie Erasmus in training this week.

For those statisticians out there, Saturday will be the 479th official Springbok Test dating back to the very first on July 30, 1891, some 127 years ago.

While Siya Kolisi was confirmed as the first black skipper - and 61st in the history of South African rugby - last week already, it's the composition of numbers 1 to 3 which has drawn subsequent interest, especially following the late arrival of France-based hooker Bismarck du Plessis.

No real shock at loosehead where veteran 'Beast' Mtawarira will play his 99th Test in the famous green and gold jersey. The 32-year-old Zimbabwe-born Sharks star has been a stalwart in the No 1 jumper since making his debut 10 years ago.

Mtawarira's fellow prop, Trevor Nyakane, will pack down at tighthead in only his third Test start - and first since August 2015 - in what will be his 38th Test overall.

The 29-year-old Bulls prop has flourished since his move from Bloemfontein to Pretoria, but faces a baptism of fire from England behemoth Mako Vunipola.

Bongi Mbonambi, 27, who will fill the hooker's berth, is desperately short of match practice having been sidelined for virtually all the Stormers' Super Rugby season with appendicitis complications.

Saturday will be Mbonambi's 15th Test, but only his second start having played second-fiddle to first Adriaan Strauss and then Malcolm Marx in the No 2 jersey throughout his international career.

In total, the Boks' starting XV will boast 351 Test caps, with Mtawarira contributing 98 on his own.

Saturday's battle is due to commence at 17:05.

Likely Springbok starting XV to face England at Ellis Park:

15 Willie le Roux (41), 14 S’bu Nkosi (0), 13 Lukhanyo Am (1), 12 Damian de Allende (28), 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi (0), 10 Handré Pollard (26), 9 Faf de Klerk (11), 8 Duane Vermeulen (39), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez (10), 6 Siya Kolisi (captain, 28), 5 Franco Mostert (18), 4 RG Snyman (0), 3 Trevor Nyakane (37), 2 Bongi Mbonambi (14), 1 Beast Mtawarira (98)

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