Vermeulen to lead Boks against All Blacks in Wellington

Coach Rassie Erasmus retained only three players from the side that beat the Wallabies 35-17 in their Rugby Championship opener.

FILE: Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen. Picture: AFP

WELLINGTON - Herschel Jantjies’s superb two-try debut for South Africa against Australia last week has propelled the scrumhalf onto the bench for Saturday’s Rugby Championship test against New Zealand.

Jantjies will back up the recalled Faf de Klerk for the clash at Wellington Regional Stadium, which is likely to decide the winner of this year’s southern hemisphere championship after both sides won their opening games last weekend.

Number eight Duane Vermeulen will lead the side after he missed last week’s 35-17 victory over Australia in Johannesburg, with coach Rassie Erasmus sending an advance party to New Zealand to prepare for the game.

The Springboks still hammered Australia 35-17 in Johannesburg, underlining their strength in depth and how much of a force they should be at the Rugby World Cup.

World Cup winner Frans Steyn has also been included on the bench, with Erasmus confirming that the 32-year-old is part of their planning for the World Cup as a back-up at flyhalf.

“Handre (Pollard) and Elton (Jantjies) are definitely going to the World Cup so we have to try a few things,” Erasmus told reporters in Wellington.

“This is an opportunity to slot Frans Steyn in at 10 or 12. It’s not the ideal game for us to do that but we want to try it out.”

Last week’s captain Eben Etzebeth has also been retained for the clash, which will also act as a preview for the opening World Cup match with the two sides set to meet in their Pool B clash in Yokohama on Sept. 21.

“I’m pretty sure that a lot of the guys we pick are going to play in that test match,” Erasmus said.

“I think the guys would take a lot of belief into that game.

“We are sitting here thinking this will be the biggest one, but I’m sure in a month we will be saying the same thing.”

Erasmus added that his regular skipper Siya Kolisi, who is out of the Rugby Championship due to injury, was likely to play Currie Cup after the team face Argentina in Salta on 10 August.

SOUTH AFRICA:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Replacements:

16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel