Springbok legend Bryan Habana has named the starting XV that he believes South Africa should select for their first test with the British and Irish Lions.
The Springboks haven’t played a test match since they beat England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, as a result of the ongoing pandemic, which has massively disrupted their preparations for the Lions series.
While South Africans haven’t had the chance to prove their ability in test-level rugby for the last 18 months, Habana has made five changes to the team that started against England, mostly due to injury concerns.
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Habana selected his team as part of World Rugby’s The Wrap and expects that the Springboks may be forced into a few changes due to injuries to several key players.
“I don’t think there’ll be too much deviation from the team that won in 2019. But there’s a couple of injuries, especially in the locks, where both Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth are in a race against time to be ready,” Habana said.
“Handre Pollard is also in a rehabilitation process, along with the 2019 World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit.”
The former Springboks winger has opted for 22-year-old fly-half Damien Willemse in place of Pollard, while he has selected former Ulster flanker Marcell Coetzee in place of du Toit.
Habana has chosen Munster lock RG Snyman to start alongside Franco Mostert for the Springboks in the second row, although Snyman hasn’t played since he suffered a knee injury against Leinster in August.
Check out South Africa’s starting XV below.
15. Willie Le Roux
14. Cheslin Kolbe
13. Lukhanyo Am
12. Damien de Allende
11. Makazole Mapimipi
10. Damian Willemse
9. Faf de Klerk
8. Duane Vermuelen
7. Marcell Coetzee
6. Siya Kolisi
5. Franco Mostert
4. RG Snyman
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Bongi Mbonambi
1. Steven Kitshoff