July 16, 2021

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa ‘A’ have retained just three players for their final warm-up game against the Bulls in Cape Town as they build up to the three-test series against the British & Irish Lions that starts on July 24.

Only hooker Joseph Dweba, loose-forward Marco van Staden and centre Damian de Allende are among the starters from the side that beat the Lions 17-13 on Wednesday, with the new-look team to be captained by flyhalf Elton Jantjies.

Prop Wilco Louw, a late addition for the series due to COVID-19 infections within the squad, will start on the bench.

The team will also have head coach Jacques Nienaber back after he was released from COVID-19 isolation.

“We wanted another SA ‘A’ match to give all the players a chance to show what they are capable of before we enter the test series, and we are excited to give these players this valuable opportunity,” Nienaber said in a media release from SA Rugby.

“With several changes to the matchday squad, there won’t be much continuity from Wednesday’s match, but the game time and the chance for these players to show what they can offer on the field will be invaluable with an eye on improving our match fitness and building momentum before we enter the test series.”

The match will be played as a curtain-raiser to the Lions’ final warm-up game against the Stormers.

Team: 15-Aphelele Fassi, 14-Yaw Penxe, 13-Wandisile Simelane, 12-Damian de Allende, 11-Rosko Specman, 10-Elton Jantjies (captain), 9-Cobus Reinach, 8-Kwagga Smith, 7-Rynhardt Elstadt, 6-Marco van Staden, 5-Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 4-Jean-Luc du Preez, 3-Vincent Koch, 2-Joseph Dweba, 1-Coenie Oosthuizen

Replacements: 16-Fez Mbatha, 17-Thomas du Toit, 18-Wilco Louw, 19-Japser Wiese, 20-Sanele Nohamba, 21-Sbu Nkosi, 22-Jesse Kriel, 23-Damian Willemse, 24-Lizo Gqoboka

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)