BOKS FLEX DEPTH: Who are the six uncapped players?

Coach Jacques Nienaber named two uncapped players in the Boks’ starting lineup and a further four among the replacements as he reshuffled his squad to build depth for their second Test against Wales in the Incoming Series at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Two players who have been in hot form recently, Kurt-Lee Arendse (outside back) and Evan Roos (No 8), have been handed starts, while Ntuthuko Mchunu (prop), Ruan Nortje (lock), Deon Fourie (utility forward) and Grant Williams (scrumhalf) could make their debuts off the bench.

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Arendse takes over from Cheslin Kolbe on the right wing, and it will be an incredible opportunity for the speedster, who is a very similar player to Kolbe in many ways.

Roos will earn a start at No 8 after a remarkable season for the Stormers in the URC, and it will be fascinating to see what he can offer now at international level.

Mchunu is seen as a future star at loosehead prop, while Ruan Nortje, Deon Fourie are Grant Williams are all rewarded for impressive form for their respective clubs during the URC.

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Nienaber stressed that while building winning momentum was vital as the international season picks up steam, one of the key facets for the team was building depth, especially with an eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“We said from the outset that we needed to strike a balance between giving our talented young players an opportunity to show what they can do at international level, and winning,” said the Boks’ coach.

“If one looks at the balance between players who have played at this level and those who have performed consistently well for their franchises and clubs, I think we have a nice balance in this squad.

“A number of these players have been with us for a few seasons, while others travelled with us last season to Australia for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and the year-end tour, and then there are a few new faces who showed during the season that they have the potential to rise to this level of the game, so we are excited to see what they can do on Saturday.”

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Boks team to face Wales in Bloemfontein

15 – Warrick Gelant (Racing 92) 9 caps, 15 pts (3t)
14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – uncapped
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 51 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12 – Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins) 8 caps, 0 pts
11 – Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks) 2 caps, 10 pts (2t)
10 – Handre Pollard (captain – Leicester) 60 caps, 601 pts (6t, 83c, 131p, 4d)
9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) 2 caps, 5 pts (1t)
8 – Evan Roos (DHL Stormers) – uncapped
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) 58 caps, 25 pts (5t)
6 – Marcell Coetzee (Vodacom Bulls) 30 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 7 caps, 0 pts
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) 98 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92) 54 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers) 1 cap, 0 pts
1 – Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks) 13 caps, 0 pts
Replacements:
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) 47 caps, 55 pts (11t)
17 – Ntuthuko Mchunu (Cell C Sharks) – uncapped
18 – Vincent Koch (Wasps) 32 caps, 0 pts
19 – Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls) – uncapped
20 – Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse) – 3 caps, 0 pts
21 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers – uncapped)
22 – Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks) – uncapped
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) 17 caps, 12 pts (1T, 2C, 1P)

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