Coach Peter de Villiers has named his South Africa XV to take on a Namibian Invitational XV in Windhoek on Friday evening. John Smit will captain the side from tighthead prop and will have his hands full with powerful Namibian front-ranker (and former Sharks team-mate) Kees Lensing, who now plays for Castres in France.
The Sharks provide six out of the eight starting forwards, with only WP’s Andries Bekker and Free Stater Hein Brüssow there to break up the Sharks pack that did so well in the Super 14. Beast Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis will be at loosehead and hooker respectively, while Johann Muller will wear the number 4 jersey, allowing Bekker to operate in the middle of the lineout. Jean Deysel and Ryan Kankowski complete what may well be the first-choice Bok loose trio in years to come, with the lively Brüssow on the open side.
The Stormers halfbacks, Ricky Januarie and Peter Grant, will start at 9 and 10 respectively, while Meyer Bosman and Morgan Newman are a surprising choice in the centres. Odwa Ndungane is played out of position on the left wing, leaving the right wing spot open for Free State’s Jongi Nokwe. Earl Rose will be at fullback.
De Villiers has opted to stack his bench with experienced Boks, just in case his new combinations fail to find their feet. Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers, Adi Jacobs and JP Pietersen will all play off the wood, together with Free State duo Wian du Preez and Adriaan Strauss. Sharks lock Steven Sykes has also been named as part of a 23-man squad.
SA XV- 15 Earl Rose, 14 Jongi Nokwe, 13 Morgan Newman, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Johann Muller, 3 John Smit (capt), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Juan Smith, 20 schalk Burger, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Jean de Villiers, 23 Adi Jacobs, 24 JP Pietersen.