South Africa have received a timely boost ahead of the Rugby World Cup after captain Siya Kilosi was named in their starting XV for the warm-up against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
It will be his first appearance for the team this year after the flanker suffered a serious knee injury in April casting him in doubt for next month’s tournament in France.
But along with replacement prop Ox Nche, who also returns from a spell on the sidelines for a first game in 2023, Kolisi will get the opportunity for much-needed game time.
The Boks also have a final warm-up fixture against New Zealand in London before they tackle Scotland in a vital Pool B clash at the World Cup on September 10.
“Siya and Ox have been working extremely hard on their rehabilitation and it’s fantastic that everything worked out according to plan to allow us to select them for this match,” Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said.
“They have two matches to build up their match fitness before the World Cup, and although it will be important to manage their load in the match, it’s vital that they return to the field as they are key players in our set-up.”
Scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, one of four number nines in the World Cup squad, also gets a first run of 2023.
“He (Hendrikse) is a top-class player and he’s been training hard, so we are pleased he’ll finally get his chance this weekend,” Nienaber said.
In all 11 changes have been made to the team from the one that defeated Argentina 24-13 in Buenos Aires 10 days ago.
Hendrikse will be alongside flyhalf Manie Libbok, with Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel the centre pairing. The back three features wings Cheslin Kolbe and Canan Moodie, and fullback Willie le Roux.
Jasper Wiese is at No.8 alongside flankers Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit, while the Munster duo of Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman are at lock.
Hooker Malcolm Marx will have props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe either side of him.
Nche is part of a 6-2 split on the bench with the ‘Bomb Squad’ back in operation after the Boks had opted for a 5-3 divide between forwards and backs in recent matches.
Springbok team: Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Manie Libbok, Jaden Hendrikse, Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt), RG Snyman, Jean Kleyn, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Grant Williams, Damian Willemse.
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