Le Roux to make Bok debut

Cheetahs star Willie le Roux will run out in green and gold for the first time.

SA Rugby

DURBAN - Cheetahs fullback Willie le Roux will make his international debut for the Springboks on Saturday against Italy at Kings Park Stadium in Durban.

He's one of five uncapped players selected by Coach Heyneke Meyer.

Captain Jean de Villiers was named in the squad, despite not having trained in the week leading up to the test due to a hamstring injury.

Meyer will give him until the last minute to prove his fitness.

That sees Jan Serfontein on the bench and his Bulls teammate JJ Engelbrecht starting at outside centre.

Jano Vermaak's good form is rewarded as he starts at scrumhalf along with the recalled Morné Steyn at flyhalf.

While the pack has a familiar look, with Meyer wary of Italy's power upfront, Adriaan Strauss is at hooker and is the vice-captain.

The uncapped duo of Trevor Nyakane and Arno Botha are on the bench that also features Chiliboy Ralepelle, Coenie Oosthuizen, Ruan Pienaar and Pat Lambie.

The Boks are somewhat light at tighthead prop with regular loosehead Oosthuizen moving across the front row into the anchoring role.

The Bok backline is looking sharp once again.

Meyer said that he's been incredibly impressed with Willie le Roux.

"Willie has played great in Super Rugby. Zane (Kirchner) is not a 100 percent fit, I thought I'd give Willie a chance because he's the form player at the moment.

"I want the guys to know that they're always in with a chance. These are the types of test matches where you need to look at your team and see if they can make the step up."

Meyer said that at this stage, he can't be 100 percent confident that de Villiers will be fit to start.

"At this stage, he hasn't trained yet. The doctor's news is quite positive, so he's going to have to train this afternoon. He has two more days until Saturday, and if he's not fit, then Jan will start."