South African ‘A’ coach Johan Ackermann has named a strong squad to face the French Barbarians at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, but one that excludes an out and out fetcher.
Ackermann earlier appointed Juan de Jongh (19 tests) as captain for the two match series against the French Baabaas and also included fellow Springboks Lwazi Mvovo (17 tests), Ruan Combrinck (7 tests), Jano Vermaak (3 tests) and Uzair Cassiem (1 test) in the run-on team, while Trevor Nyakane (28 tests) and Francois Venter (3 tests) are on the bench.
Eight other players – Lionel Cronje, Dewaldt Duvenage, Ruan Botha, Wilco Louw, Franco Marais, Thomas du Toit, Ox Nche and Jason Jenkins – represented the Junior Springboks earlier in their careers.
According to Ackermann, they prepared well for this clash and he is keen to see how the players play together as a unit.
“We had some good training sessions and everyone is on the same page with regards to our approach and objectives for this match,” said Ackermann.
“All the players are on form and they have been training well, so it wasn’t an easy decision to make and unfortunately I could not include all the players in our squad in the team for this match, but we will make some changes next week for the encounter at Orlando Stadium to try and give everyone game time.
“The French Barbarians named a very strong team and we need to be pretty precise in game management and execution to keep them at bay. I do expect them to be very attack-minded as well, so we need to find the correct balance in our approach.”
Ackermann said the team is in high spirits about the prospect of playing at the iconic venue: “Everyone is very excited to be the first team ever to play a big rugby match at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“These are moments we will cherish as a squad. What will make it more ideal, is to have strong support as well at this magnificent venue and we hope to put on a performance which the spectators will enjoy.”
South Africa ‘A’: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Francois Venter
Date: Friday, June 16
Venue: Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Kick-off: 16:45 local (14:45 GMT)
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Vusi Msibi (South Africa), Blake Beattie (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)