The Green team is coached by Mzwandile Stick, with SA Rugby director Rassie Erasmus serving as the team commissioner, while Deon Davids is the Gold team coach and Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber team commissioner.
Stick was forced to make three changes to his matchday squad for the clash after utility forward Oupa Mohoje tested positive for Covid-19 and prop Trevor Nyakane was withdrawn from the squad after being in close contact with his former Cheetahs teammate. Ex-Junior Springbok utility back Mnombo Zwelendaba was ruled out due to a hip injury.
As a result, three young guns have been called into the Springbok Gold team – Kwenzo Blose (prop), Kade Wolhuter (flyhalf) and JJ van der Mescht (lock). All three players have been named on the bench.
Stick said: “We have a good balance in our team if you look at the mix between the youngsters and senior players,” he said. “We have the likes of Siya Kolisi, Duane (Vermeulen), Elton (Jantjies) and Frans (Steyn) that were with us at the World Cup in Japan while we worked with some of the youngsters at a junior level and it’s great to give them a taste of a Test week.”
Davids was equally pleased with his team’s preparations: “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. We will see a fascinating battle between two interesting and exciting team combinations.”
Stick, who admitted it was great to see the domestic players back in action after the country was forced into lockdown six months ago, expected an entertaining clash. “We would like to give the players the freedom to express themselves, and to showcase their talent and bring that X-factor,” said Stick.
“If you look at the likes of Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, they use their chances one-on-one, and we would like to give these young players the opportunity to do that. With the experienced players around them, it will be a good match.”
Am, meanwhile, kicked off the banter between the teams in the build-up to the match saying: “I’m not letting any secrets out the bag, but we have surprises in store for the Green squad.”
SPRINGBOK GREEN: 15. Gianni Lombard; 14. Yaw Penxe, 13. Wandisile Simelane, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Malcolm Jaer; 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Sanele Nohamba; 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Arno Botha, 6. Siya Kolisi (capt), 5. Hyron Andrews, 4. JD Schickerling, 3. Luan de Bruin, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. Ox Nche. Reps: 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