Three players will make their Test debut for the Springboks on Saturday in the first Test of the Castle Incoming Tour against England at Mr Price Kings Park in Durban.
DHL Western Province lock Eben Etzebeth, Vodacom Blue Bulls lock Juandré Kruger and Sharks flanker Marcell Coetzee have all been included in the starting 15 against England.
A fourth uncapped player, Toyota Free State Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen, has been selected on the bench.
Both Etzebeth and Coetzee are still eligible to play Under-21 rugby.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer also announced that Bismarck du Plessis will be the vice-captain for the Castle Incoming Tour.
“We’re fortunate to have a strong leadership core in Jean, Bismarck and, if he gets replaced, Adriaan Strauss,” said Meyer.
The starting 15 boast a combined total of 458 Test caps. Meyer, in naming his first Test side, said the newcomers in the squad all deserved their places following some great displays for their franchises in Vodacom Super Rugby.
“Eben, Juandré, Marcell and Coenie have all put up their hands this season and I know they can succeed at Test level,” said Meyer.
“Although the team is quite young, we still have some experience across the starting 15. The balance in the team is right in the way we want to play against England and we’re looking forward to the first Test of the season.”
Only nine players that played in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia last year have been included in the starting line-up.
“I have faith in the players and the ball is now in their hands to show they have what it takes to perform constantly at this level as we enter a new Springbok era,” said Meyer.
The Springbok team to face England in Durban is:
1. Tendai Mtawarira: The Sharks – 32 Caps
2. Bismarck du Plessis (vice-captain): The Sharks – 42 Caps
3. Jannie du Plessis: The Sharks – 30 Caps
4. Eben Etzebeth: DHL Western Province – 0 Caps
5. Juandré Kruger: Vodacom Blue Bulls – 0 Caps
6. Marcell Coetzee: The Sharks – 0 Caps
7. Willem Alberts: The Sharks – 9 Caps
8. Pierre Spies: Vodacom Blue Bulls – 47 Caps
9. Francois Hougaard: Vodacom Blue Bulls – 15 Caps
10. Morné Steyn: Vodacom Blue Bulls – 34 Caps
11. Bryan Habana: DHL Western Province – 74 Caps
12. Frans Steyn: The Sharks – 47 Caps
13. Jean de Villiers (captain): DHL Western Province – 72 Caps
14. JP Pietersen: The Sharks – 42 Caps
15. Zane Kirchner: Vodacom Blue Bulls – 14 Caps
16. Adriaan Strauss: Toyota FS Cheetahs – 9 Caps
17. Coenie Oosthuizen: Toyota FS Cheetahs – 0 Caps
18. Flip van der Merwe: Vodacom Blue Bulls – 11 Caps
19. Keegan Daniel: The Sharks – 1 Caps
20. Ruan Pienaar: Ulster, Ireland – 51 Caps
21. Pat Lambie: The Sharks – 11 Caps
22. Wynand Olivier: Vodacom Blue Bulls – 34 Caps
- Jean de Villiers is South Africa’s 54th Springbok captain. With 72 Test caps he is the most experienced player in the history of Springbok rugby to be appointed as captain. Victor Matfield had 57 caps when he was first appointed as captain in 2007.
- De Villiers will also equal Jaque Fourie’s record of most capped Springbok centre. Fourie is the current record holder with 58 appearances at centre. Jean needs one try to reach 20 career Test tries for the Springboks.
- It is only the third time in the history of South African Rugby that a centre will captain the Test side. The previous two captains were Ferdie Aston (1896) and Pierre Albertyn (1924).
- Bryan Habana is South Africa’s most capped Springbok wing with 73 Tests and also most experienced player in the squad with 74 Test caps. He is the Springbok top try scorer with 40 career tries in Tests and all were scored as a wing.
- Habana also holds the Springbok record for most career tries in Tests against England with six. He has played in eight Tests against England, together with Frans Steyn, the most of any player in this squad.
- Morné Steyn shares the Springbok record for most tries in Tests as a flyhalf with Joel Stransky and Piet Visagie – they have all scored six tries in the No 10 shirt. He also holds the record for most points in a match at this venue when he scored a try, conversion and eight penalty goals for a total of 31 points against New Zealand in 2009.
- Furthermore, Steyn needs 10 points to surpass Naas Botha’s 40 career points at this venue. Percy Montgomery is the record holder with 73 career points at Mr Price Kings Park. Three penalty goals will equal Percy’s career record of 11 penalty goals at this venue.
- Bismarck du Plessis shares the Springbok record for most tries in Tests as a hooker with James Dalton and John Smit – they have all scored five Test tries in the No 2 jersey.
- Pierre Spies will become South Africa’s most capped No 8, surpassing former Bok captain Gary Teichmann, who is equal with Spies on 42 caps. Spies also holds the record for most Test tries as a No 8, with seven.
- Frans Steyn is the only player that has played in all seven consecutive wins against England since 2006 and, together with Bryan Habana, the only other player in the squad with eight Test caps against England.
- The Castle Incoming Tour of South Africa by England is the first three-Test tour to this country by a single nation since 1996, when New Zealand played three Tests after the conclusion of the Tri-Nations series.
- The Springboks have won their last seven consecutive Tests against England. England’s worst run against any country is nine consecutive losses against New Zealand.
- This will be the first Test at Mr Price Kings Park between the Springboks and England. The Boks’ record at Mr Price Kings Park is: P 27; W 16; D 3; L 8; Win % 59. The biggest win by South Africa at this venue was against Italy in 1999 (101-0) and the biggest defeat was against Australia in 2008 (15-27).
- The Springboks have scored 62 tries in 27 Tests at Mr Price Kings Park and have conceded only 38.
- It’s not England’s first visit to Durban though – they played three Tests at Mr Price Kings Park during the 1995 Rugby World Cup and won all of them, against Argentina, Italy and Western Samoa.
- England’s last victory against South Africa was in 2006 at Twickenham (23-21). South Africa won their last Test against England, also at Twickenham, in 2010. England’s last victory in South Africa was in 2000 in Bloemfontein when they won 27-22.