South Africa A name side to take on Bulls in Cape Town

Damian de Allende one of three players retained from win over Lions

Damian de Allende is one of just three players retained in the Soutyh Africa A side for their game against the Bulls on Saturday. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Damian de Allende is one of just three players retained in the Soutyh Africa A side for their game against the Bulls on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

As expected, South Africa A have lined up another warm-up game ahead of the Test series on Saturday, against the Bulls, making it the first part of a double header in Cape Town Stadium with the kick-off at noon.

SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus was pleased to have an additional fixture following the cancellation of the Springboks’ second Test against Georgia last weekend.

“We want to be as well prepared as possible when we meet the British & Irish Lions in the Castle Lager Lions Series, and this additional match offers us an invaluable opportunity to work on our structures, while at the same time offering the players an opportunity to stake a claim for places in the Test team,” said Erasmus.

“We had hoped for three matches in the build-up to the Test series, and the match against the Vodacom Bulls means we will get exactly that before we line up against the tourists.”

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, who made the trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Friday morning with a host of players who will begin their return-to-play protocols after recovering from Covid-19, has made a dozen changes to the South Africa A starting line-up, with only Damian de Allende, flanker Marco van Staden and hooker Joseph Dweba retained.

The well-travelled, 28-year-old former Springboks outhalf Johan Goosen, voted the Top 14 players’ player of the year when helping Racing 92 to the title in 2015-16, will make his debut for the Bulls.

The Springboks have issued a message calling for South Africa to start a period of healing after a week of unrest has ravaged the country.

“We’re only a rugby team; we don’t have any real power or authority. There’s no reason why anyone should listen to us or follow what we say. We’re just ordinary South Africans like you. And, like you, we’re hurting,” read a statement that was released on Friday.

“Like you, we’re horrified by the pain and suffering and loss of life that has happened.

“It shocks us to see the desperate measures that people have taken to protect their neighbourhoods, their property and their livelihoods. But we acknowledge that as professional sportspeople that we speak from a position of privilege and have little first-hand experience of the poverty in which many of our fellow South Africans live their daily lives.

“But we do know that looting and violence and the burning of buildings will not improve the lives of anyone in the long term.

“As players, all we can do is our jobs – which is to do our best to win rugby matches in the hope of putting smiles on people’s faces and proving along the way that we are stronger when we are together. It’s not just a hashtag, South Africa, we believe it to be true.

“We’re only a rugby team, made up of ordinary South Africans who love our country and all its people and want to see it prosper.

“But our country is bleeding. Let us start the healing by being stronger together.”

SOUTH AFRICA A (v Bulls, Cape Town Stadium, kick-off 12pm): Aphelele Fassi; Yaw Penxe, Wandisile Simelane, Damian de Allende, Rosko Specman; Elton Jantjies (capt), Cobus Reinach; Coenie Oosthuizen, Joseph Dweba, Vincent Koch; Jean-Luc du Preez, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg; Marco van Staden, Rynhardt Elstadt, Kwagga Smith.

Replacements: Fez Mbatha. Thomas du Toit, Wilco Louw, Japser Wiese, Sanele Nohamba, Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian Willemse, Lizo Gqoboka.

BULLS: FC du Plessis; Marco Jansen van Vuuren, Harold Vorster, Cornal Hendricks, Stravino Jacobs; Johan Goosen, Zak Burger; Simphiwe Matanzima, Schalk Erasmus, Jacques van Rooyen; Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Nortje; Nizaam Carr (capt), Muller Uys, WJ Steenkamp.

Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp, Mornay Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Arno Botha, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smith, David Kriel, Jan-Hendrik Wessel.

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