Eben Etzebeth to captain South Africa against Australia
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Last Updated: 17/07/19 3:17pm
Eben Etzebeth will captain South Africa in their opening Rugby Championship game of 2019, against Australia at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Etzebeth takes over the captaincy from regular skipper Siya Kolisi, who is recovering from a knee injury, while Aphiwe Dyantyi was also not considered for selection because of a hamstring injury. It will be Etzebeth's 12th Test as Bok captain.
Rynhardt Elstadt and Herschel Jantjies are the only two uncapped players in the starting team, while prop Lizo Gqoboka could make his debut off the bench.
Elstadt is picked at flank in a loose trio that also includes the experienced duo of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Francois Louw. Jantjies, will play alongside the 33-cap Elton Jantjies in a new-look half-back combination.
On the bench there is also a return to the Bok fold for a number of overseas based players including Ulster loose forward Marcell Coetzee, Northampton's Cobus Reinach and Montpellier's Frans Steyn.
"The squad have trained together for more than three weeks and this match is important for us to start a very important rugby year," said Springbok coach Rassies Erasmus.
"We want to win the Rugby Championship and we have a specific plan, which starts Saturday with the first Test against the Wallabies.
"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.
"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."
South Africa: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 1 Beast Mtawarira, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Francois Louw
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds