Uncapped De Klerk picked at scrum-half for Springboks


Uncapped scrum-half Faf de Klerk has been named in South Africa's starting XV for the first Test with Ireland.

New coach Allister Coetzee will take charge of his first Springboks game on Saturday as they face Ireland in Cape Town.

And his first 23-man squad features a number of unfamiliar faces, with six players who did not compete at last year's World Cup included for the clash at Newlands.

Five of that group play for Lions, who have the second best record in Super Rugby, with De Klerk joined in the squad by Elton Jantjies, Warren Whiteley, Julian Redelinghuys and Lionel Mapoe.

Jantjies passed a fitness test to earn a place on the bench, while Mapoe is set to make his maiden South Africa start at outside centre.

Bongi Mbonambi of Stormers could win his first cap after being named as the replacement hooker.

"I have no doubt Faf will do a fantastic job," Coetzee said.

"He has lots of experience around him in the form of Pat [Lambie] next to him and Duane [Vermeulen] at the back of the scrum. So in that sense he will be looked after, but I know Faf can also look after himself.

"I am excited about the composition of the team and the players selected are rewarded for their consistently good performances in Super Rugby.

"We've worked extremely hard these past two weeks to become a team and to make sure we cover all the necessary areas so we can face the Irish.

"The big test will come up front where we will have to make sure that we do well at set-pieces, especially at scrum and lineouts. Those are the areas where the Irish have been strong, so we want to compete there and set a platform so our backs can hopefully get into their rhythm."

South Africa: Willie Le Roux, JP Pietersen, Lionel Mapoe, Damian De Allende, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Faf de Klerk; Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Julian Redelinghuys, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Warren Whiteley, Rudy Paige, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel.