Pieter-Steph du Toit will captain a young Springbok XV featuring seven uncapped players in the starting line-up against Wales on Saturday.
Du Toit (lock) will lead South Africa for the first time when they take on the Welsh in this once-off international, which falls outside the Test window.
The seven players in the starting team who will be making their debut in the United States capital are Travis Ismaiel and Makazole Mapimpi (wings), Andre Esterhuizen (centre), Ivan van Zyl (scrumhalf), Kwagga Smith (flank), Jason Jenkins (lock) and Ox Nche (prop).
Pieter-Steph du Toit will captain a young Springbok team featuring seven uncapped players in the starting line-up against the @WelshRugbyUnion at 23h00 on Saturday evening (SA time) in Washington DC. @USARugby #LoveRugby pic.twitter.com/dwMEfTSywF
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) May 30, 2018
A further six players with no Test experience were included on the bench, namely Akker van der Merwe (hooker), Thomas du Toit (prop), Marvin Orie (lock), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (loose forward), Embrose Papier (scrum-half) and Robert du Preez (fly-half).
If Du Preez comes on as a substitute, it will be the first time in SA history that there will be a set of a Springbok father with three Springbok sons – Robert (snr), Jean-Luc, Dan and Robert (jnr). The Du Preez’s will also become the fourth set of three Springbok brothers.
Erasmus has opted for an experienced core of players – Jesse Kriel (centre), Elton Jantjies (fly-half), Oupa Mohoje (flank), Du Toit (lock) and Chiliboy Ralepelle (hooker) – to provide the necessary calmness and guidance. He said he is looking forward to see the Springboks take one one of Europe’s most powerful sides.
“As coaches, we are tremendously excited about the prospect of seeing some of our best young players getting the opportunity to play at this level,” said Erasmus.
Wales had the upper hand over the Springboks in their last two encounters, both played in Cardiff, and according to Erasmus, the Welsh will be especially motivated to continue with that trend.
“Wales have a very solid and effective kicking strategy and their cohesive forward and set-piece play are some of their main strong points. However, I do believe that we have picked a match-day squad that will be able to compete very strongly,” added Erasmus.