Springbok team to take on Georgia announced

The encounter will be the Rugby World Cup champion's first international game since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in November 2019.

Jacques Nienaber. Picture: SARugby.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - Jacques Nienaber has named Rosko Specman, Aphelele Fassi and Jasper Wiese in his first Springbok starting 15 for the first Test against Georgia on Friday night at Loftus Versfeld.

The encounter will be the Rugby World Cup champion's first international game since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in November 2019.

Specman will start on the right wing, Fassi on the left wing, with Wiese coming off the bench as he looks to earn his first Test cap should he take the field.

“We have selected the best team with an eye on what we would like to achieve in this Test against Georgia, and we believe that we have a good balance with a number of experienced campaigners and a few young players who have made a strong statement this season,” said Nienaber on Tuesday.

“Most of the players in this squad are Rugby World Cup winners, while others have been part of the national squad for a few seasons, and this will be invaluable against a team that boast the passion that Georgia exhibit."

Nienaber has retained 12 of the players who featured in their 32-12 final win over England to lift the World Cup, including captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, and Handré Pollard.

“We are also excited to see what the uncapped players bring to the table after impressive performances for their franchises in the last few seasons,” the coach added. “Each one of them has proved that they deserve an opportunity at this level, and the commitment and enthusiasm they displayed at training has been striking.”

With the game bringing to an end the Boks' 19-month absence from international rugby, Nienaber will be hoping they go all out as they use the encounters to prepare for the Series against the British and Irish Lions.

“We are expecting Georgia to come out guns blazing with their passionate and physical rugby, so we need to find our rhythm early on and build up a good 80-minute performance. We know how big this challenge will be, but it is vital that we build a solid foundation in the next two Tests in order to refine our skill set, match readiness and ability to perform under pressure.”

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