Springbok Green vs Springbok Gold: SA clash live on Sky Sports | Rugby Union News

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Siya Kolisi and Lukhanyo Am will skipper the Springbok Green and Springbok Gold teams respectively

Siya Kolisi and Lukhanyo Am will skipper the Springbok Green and Springbok Gold teams respectively

Siya Kolisi and Lukhanyo Am will captain respective Springbok Green and Springbok Gold sides when they face off on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, in an exciting national trial format.

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber drafted 25 players each in a ‘schoolyard pick’ one for one, all of whom are based in South Africa, with the 50 players set to compete at Newlands to try and impress.

Springbok attack coach Mzwandile Stick will coach the Green team, while former Kings coach Deon Davids will oversee the Gold team.

Stick has been forced to make three changes to his match-day squad for the clash after Oupa Mohoje (back-row forward) tested positive for COVID-19, although he is asymptomatic, and as a precautionary measure Trevor Nyakane (prop) was withdrawn from the squad after being in close contact with his former Cheetahs team-mate.

“We have a good balance in our team if you look at the mix between the youngsters and senior players,” Stick said.

“We have the likes of Siya Kolisi, Duane (Vermeulen), Elton (Jantjies) and Frans (Steyn) that were with us at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, while we worked with some of the youngsters at a junior level, and it is great to give them a taste of a Test week.”

With South Africa’s potential involvement in the forthcoming Rugby Championship in doubt, Vermeulen admitted it was hard for the players to be in the best headspace at the moment.

“As a player, you have to be adaptable when you get an opportunity to play,” Vermeulen said.

“Obviously, its difficult circumstances and something everyone is just getting used to, but as players, we have to be adaptable.

“We still don’t know what is going to happen, so we can only focus on what we can control and we can only control the now.

“The only thing we are focussing on now is the Currie Cup, which has been cleared by SA Rugby, and we are not thinking too far ahead.

South Africa No 8 Duane Vermeulen admitted it was hard for players to be in a good headspace at present

South Africa No 8 Duane Vermeulen admitted it was hard for players to be in a good headspace at present

“If the Rugby Championship does go ahead, though, we would be going in with a bit of a disadvantage – as we are just starting a competition, while in Australia and New Zealand have been playing for the last 10 or 11 weeks and already finished their domestic tournaments.

“It would be difficult for us as players, as there was talk from the medical side that you’d need to ideally have played 400-plus minutes before going into an international competition.

“However, as I said, there are others who will decide the way forward.”

On the Gold side, the likes of talented backs Warrick Gelant, Am, Damian Willemse and Herschel Jantjies combine with forwards such as Steven Kitsoff, Marco van Staden and former Wasps man Nizaam Carr.

“The week has gone very well so far, with good enthusiasm at training and a great eagerness to learn and to absorb what is happening in this special environment,” coach Davids said.

“We will see a fascinating battle between two interesting and exciting team combinations, each one consisting of experienced RWC winning Springboks, established franchise players, some Blitzboks and some really good youngsters coming through the ranks.”

Elsewhere, Erasmus believes there are no shortage of options to replace injured fly-half Handre Pollard, after his serious knee injury.

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Pollard will miss the Rugby Championship and possibly the build-up to the British & Irish Lions series next July, after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligaments while playing for French Top 14 side Montpellier this month.

The 10 was integral to the Boks’ World Cup victory in Japan last year with his tactical kicking and ability to control the game.

“In terms of a team man and someone who served the side, Elton (Jantjies) really stood out at the World Cup in the way he helped us prepare,” Erasmus said this week.

“And when he’s playing with structure and a good forward foundation, he’s unbelievable. He was pushing hard for Handre’s spot.

Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus feels there is enough cover at 10 with Handre Pollard out

Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus feels there is enough cover at 10 with Handre Pollard out

“Then there’s Damian Willemse, who has gone to a World Cup and who can do a job at 10 and 15 [full-back]. Even Frans Steyn can slot in if needed. Curwin Bosch, if he gets a good run, is someone to watch.”

Springbok Green: 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Sanele Nohamba; 1 Ox Nche, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Luan de Bruin, 4 JD Schickerling, 5 Hyron Andrews, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Arno Botha, 8 Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Junior Pokomela, 22 Embrose Papier, 23 Manie Libbok, 24 Jeremy Ward, 25 Kade Wolhuter.

Commissioner: Rassie Erasmus

Coach: Mzwandile Stick

Springbok Gold: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies; 1 Steven Kitshoff, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 5 Marvin Orie, 6 Marco van Staden, 7 Nizaam Carr, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe.

Replacements: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 James Venter, 21 Vincent Tshituka, 22 Ivan van Zyl, 23 Curwin Bosch, 24 Werner Kok, 25 Manual Rass.

Commissioner: Jacques Nienaber

Coach: Deon Davids



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