New-look Springboks name two uncapped players to face Wales in Twickenham Test

22-year-old outhalf Jordan Hendrikse and winger Edwill van der Merwe will start game in London

Lions outhalf Jordan Hendrikse will make his South Africa debut against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday. Photograph: Craig Watson/Inpho

World champions South Africa have named uncapped Jordan Hendrikse at outhalf and Edwill van der Merwe on the wing in a much-changed squad to face Wales in a one-off Test at Twickenham on Saturday (2.0 kick-off, Sky Sports), with Pieter-Steph du Toit captaining the side.

Flanker Ben-Jason Dixon and utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu are also likely to make their debuts off the bench as coach Rassie Erasmus opts for a 5-3 split between forwards and backs among the replacements.

The fixture in London falls outside of the international window, leaving the Springboks without several of their first-choice players in England and France, as well as those from the Bulls, who host Glasgow Warriors in the United Rugby Championship final on the same day. Those players will join the Springboks camp for the two Tests against Ireland in July.

“Edwill, Jordan, Ben-Jason, and Sacha have really impressed us at training, and we believe they have what it takes to make their presence felt against a quality team such as Wales,” Erasmus said.


“They will be surrounded by several experienced campaigners – some of whom are Rugby World Cup winners – so they will have enough guidance on the field to fulfil their roles even when the pressure is on.”

Lions outhalf Hendrikse is the younger brother of scrumhalf Jaden, who was a World Cup winner with the Springboks in France last year, but is currently out injured.

Jordan, 22, has been preferred to Manie Libbok in a surprise selection from Erasmus, who is never shy to experiment and go against expectations.

Aphelele Fassi will be at fullback with the experienced Makazole Mapimpi on the opposite wing to the electric Van der Merwe, who is in a similar mould to Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse with quick feet and pace to burn.

Andre Esterhuizen and Jesse Kriel are the centre pairing, with double World Cup winner Faf de Klerk alongside Hendrikse at scrumhalf.

Malcolm Marx makes a return at hooker after his World Cup in France was cut short by a serious knee injury, and will have props Ox Nche and Vincent Koch, who wins a 50th cap, alongside him in a formidable frontrow.

Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert are the lock pairing, with Kwagga Smith and Du Toit on the flank, and Evan Roos at number eight.

The three backs on the bench are scrumhalf Grant Williams, Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 22, who can cover outhalf, centre and fullback, and centre Damian de Allende.

The Springboks are also without several players with injuries, including Steven Kitshoff, Damian Willemse, Lukanyo Am and Kolbe.

Dewi Lake will captain Wales at Twickenham, with scrumhalf Ellis Bevan making his Test debut in the clash, coach Warren Gatland announced.

Hooker Lake takes over the captaincy from Dayfdd Jenkins, who led the side in the Six Nations earlier this year, but who, along with other players based at English or French clubs, is not available for the game.

Jac Morgan was expected to skipper the side but has been released from the squad after failing to recover from a hamstring injury suffered in Ospreys’ URC quarter-final defeat against Munster and will not go on Wales’ tour of Australia next month.

Cardiff’s Bevan takes over at scrumhalf from Tomos Williams, who recently had ankle surgery.

There is also a first start for 31-year-old Dragons secondrow Matthew Screech, who made a replacement appearance against Argentina three years ago, as Wales are severely hampered in the lock department with eight possible options out for Saturday’s clash.

As a result, James Ratti from Ospreys was called up on Tuesday to cover both the secondrow and backrow and immediately named among the substitutes. He is, therefore, expected to make his Wales debut from the bench, as are Eddie James and Jacob Beetham.

James Botham – who was called into the squad on Monday – is named at openside flank while Taine Plumtree is on the blindside as he wins a third cap, having last featured for Wales against England at Twickenham in August last year.

Liam Williams starts on the wing in his first appearance since last year’s World Cup in France.

“We have our backs to the wall a little bit this week, but we’re really excited about the challenge on Saturday,” said Gatland in a statement.

“The coaches and I have been very happy with the effort that’s going in. There’s a huge amount of potential in this group and the next five weeks will be extremely important for us in terms of wanting to develop this team.”

Gatland will name his squad for the tour to Australia after Saturday’s Test.

WALES: Cameron Winnett; Liam Williams, Owen Watkin, Mason Grady, Rio Dyer; Sam Costelow, Ellis Bevan; Gareth Thomas, Dewi Lake (capt), Henry Thomas; Matthew Screech, Ben Carter; Taine Plumtree, James Botham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Evan Lloyd, Kemsley Mathias, Kieron Assiratti, James Ratti, Mackenzie Martin, Gareth Davies, Eddie James, Jacob Beetham.

SOUTH AFRICA: Aphelele Fassi; Edwill van der Merwe, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi; Jordan Hendrikse, Faf de Klerk; Ox Nche, Malcolm Marx, Vincent Koch; Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert; Kwagga Smith, Pieter-Steph du Toit (capt), Evan Roos.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Frans Malherbe, Salmaan Moerat, Ben-Jason Dixon, Grant Williams, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Damian de Allende.

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