Rynhardt Elstadt and Herschel Jantjies will each make their Test debut on when South Africa host Australia in the opening Rugby Championship Test at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Elstadt, who plays for Toulouse in France and Stormers scrumhalf Jantjies are the only two uncapped players in the starting team, but Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka is also set to debut off the bench.
Elstadt is picked at No. 6 flank in a loose trio that also includes the experienced duo of Pieter-Steph du Toit and No 8 Francois Louw.
Jantjies, will play alongside the 33-cap Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) in a new-look halfback combination.
The bench sees a number of familiar faces return to the Boks fold as head coach Rassie Erasmus casts his net wide with the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad in mind, most notably Ulster loose forward Marcell Coetzee, Northampton Saints scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and Montpellier’s Frans Steyn, who covers a number of positions in the backline.
Eben Etzebeth will captain the side in Siya Kolisi’s absence.
Kolisi is recovering from a knee injury.
Aphiwe Dyantyi also was not considered for selection because of a hamstring injury.
Erasmus said that he was excited for the start of the international season, and each of the three Rugby Championship Tests were vital ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
“We want to win the Rugby Championship and we have a specific plan, which starts Saturday with the first Test against the Wallabies,” Erasmus said.
“We have planned to mix things up in the first two Tests of the season, in order to give game time to as many of the players in our wider squad, and we believe this is the right combination to face a very good and competitive Australian side.
“We are excited for the forthcoming year and I want to congratulate Rynhardt, Herschel and Lizo on their first inclusion in a Springbok match-day squad, while the leadership role is not something new for Eben. The build-up has been good and there is definitely a very good vibe for match.
“Australia have prepared very well for this match and they have spent two weeks at altitude to acclimatise to the Highveld, so we are in for a great contest.”
Springboks team to play Australia in Johannesburg:
Warrick Gelant, Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, André Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies, Francois Louw, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rynhardt Elstadt, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Schalk Brits, Lizo Gqoboka, Vincent Koch, Marvin Orie, Marcell Coetzee, Cobus Reinach, Frans Steyn, Dillyn Leyds.