Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks captain Siya Kolisi will resume his leadership duties in the national team colours on Saturday for the first time since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup last year.
Kolisi has been named alongside Springboks teammate Lukhanyo Am as the captains of the Green and Gold teams for the Springbok Showdown.
The Green team is coached by Mzwandile Stick, with SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus serving as the team commissioner, while Deon Davids is the Gold team coach and Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber the team commissioner.
Stick was forced to make three changes to his matchday squad for the clash after Oupa Mohoje tested positive for COVID-19, though he is asymptomatic.
As a precautionary measure, Trevor Nyakane was withdrawn from the squad after being in close contact with his former Cheetahs teammate. Mnombo Zwelendaba was ruled out due to a hip injury.
Prop Kwenzo Blose, fly-half Kade Wolhuter and lock JJ van der Mescht have since been called into the Springboks Gold team. All three have been named on the bench.
“We have a good balance in our team if you look at the mix between the youngsters and senior players,” said Stick.
“We have the likes of Siya Kolisi, Duane [Vermeulen], Elton [Jantjies] and Frans [Steyn] that were with us at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, while we worked with some of the youngsters at a junior level, and it is great to give them a taste of a Test week.
“We would like to give the players the freedom to express themselves, and to showcase their talent and bring that X-factor. If you look at the likes of Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, they use their chances one-on-one, and we would like to give these young players the opportunity to do that. With the experienced players around them, I think it will be a good match.
“The game might open up in the later stages, but we are going to respect this match. The Gold team also has quality players, so we will try to play a well-balanced game, and if it opens up, we will look to take our opportunities.”
Davids said with the Stormers relocating to the Cape Town Stadium next year, it would be a special occasion for the Cape-based players in both squads.
“We will see a fascinating battle between two interesting and exciting team combinations, each one consisting of experienced RWC winning Springboks, established franchise players, some Blitzboks and some really good youngsters coming through the ranks,” Davids said.
“We have a number of Stormers players in our ranks for whom this match will be a very special occasion, playing on the beautiful field of the famous Newlands stadium.”
Springbok Green: 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Junior Pokomela, 22 Embrose Papier, 23 Manie Libbok, 24 Jeremy Ward, 25 Kade Wolhuter.
Springbok Gold: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Nizaam Carr, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Carlü Sadie, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 James Venter, 21 Vincent Tshituka, 22 Ivan van Zyl, 23 Curwin Bosch, 24 Werner Kok, 25 Manuel Rass.