Eighteen of the team featured in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship-winning campaign but also included are five “newcomers” in the returning Siya Kolisi, Thomas du Toit and Wilco Louw (prop), Marco van Staden (looseforward) and potential debutant Scarra Ntubeni (hooker).
Kolisi has been named in the starting XV for a cameo role as he continues his carefully managed rehabilitation from a knee injury while the team is captained for the first time by the experienced Schalk Brits (hooker), who becomes the second oldest Springbok captain at 38 years and three months, and makes his first start in the green and gold since 2008.
The backline that helped overwhelm Australia at Emirates Airline Park a month ago has been re-united with the exception of scrumhalf, where Cobus Reinach gets an opportunity to start; while the pack features a new front row, a mighty Vodacom Bulls locking combination and a first start of the season for Marcell Coetzee alongside Kolisi and Rynhardt Elstadt.
Vice-captain Elton Jantjies will take over the leadership role in the event of Brits being replaced – opening the way for a debut by Ntubeni. The DHL Stormers hooker toured with the Springboks in 2013 and 2014 but has had a long wait to pull on the jersey for the first time in a Test.
Erasmus said the split between six forwards and two backs on the bench was to provide extra looseforward cover for Kolisi’s cameo return.
Frans Steyn would cover all of flyhalf, centre and fullback with Faf de Klerk the only other back replacement.
Season sensation Herschel Jantjies was slated to provide scrumhalf cover but he was withdrawn on Tuesday following a blow to his head in training. It is not expected to affect his potential inclusion in the Rugby World Cup squad.
Saturday’s match against Argentina kicks off at 17h05 and tickets are available from www.ticketpro.co.za and the Loftus Versfeld ticket office.
The Springbok team to play Argentina in Pretoria (in order of name, franchise or club, caps and points) is:
15. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls), 6, 5 (1t)
14. Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks), 7, 25 (5t)
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), 43, 60 (12t)
12. André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), 7, 0
11. Dillyn Leyds (DHL Western Province), 9 5 (1t)
10. Elton Jantjies (vice-captain – Emirates Lions), 34, 239 (2t, 47c, 45p)
9. Cobus Reinach (Northampton, England), 11, 15 (3t)
8. Marcell Coetzee (Ulster, Northern Ireland) 29, 30 (6t)
7. Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), 1, 0
6. Siya Kolisi (DHL Western Province), 41, 25 (5t)
5. Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls), 39, 25 (5t)
4. RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), 14, 0
3. Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), 14, 0
2. Schalk Brits (captain – Vodacom Bulls), 12, 5 (1t)
1. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), 9, 0
16. Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Western Province), uncapped
17. Lizo Gqoboka (Vodacom Bulls), 1, 0
18. Wilco Louw (DHL Western Province), 12, 0
19. Marvin Orie (Emirates Lions), 2, 0
20. Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), 2, 0
21. Kwagga Smith (Emirates Lions), 3, 0
22. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), 23, 15 (3t)
23. Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France) 59, 132 (10t, 5c, 21p, 3d)