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Published: 14:25 | 9/6/16

De Klerk to make Springboks debut


Faf de Klerk will make his debut for South Africa in Saturday's first Test against Ireland.

Springboks head coach Allister Coetzee has included six players in the matchday 23 who did not feature at the Rugby World Cup last year, with De Klerk named at scrum-half for the Test in Cape Town.

The Lions players starts alongside Pat Lambie and Coetzee is confident he will give a good account of himself on his first start for South Africa.

“I have no doubt Faf will do a fantastic job,” said Coetzee. “He has lots of experience around him in the form of Pat next to him and Duane at the back of the scrum. So in that sense he will be looked after, but I know Faf can also look after himself.

“Both our flyhalves, Pat and Elton, have been in outstanding form in the Super Rugby competition and it’s great to have both of them available and in the match day squad. To have a right and left foot kicker at halfback is always a good option.”

Willie le Roux starts at full-back and is joined in the back three by JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo as Lionel Mapoe, who earns his second cap for the Springboks, and Damian de Allende team up in the centre.

Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss and Frans Malherbe are named in the front row as Eben Etzebeth locks down with Lood de Jager. Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen complete the pack.

“I am excited about the composition of the team and the players selected are rewarded for their consistently good performances in Super Rugby,” Coetzee added.

"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 (XV v Ireland): W le Roux; JP Pietersen, L Mapoe, D de Allende, L Mvovo; P Lambie, F de Klerk; T Mtawarira, A Strauss, F Malherbe, E Etzebeth, L de Jager, F Louw, S Kolisi, D Vermeulen.

Replacements: B Mbonambi, T Nyakane, J Redelinghuys, P-S du Toit, W Whiteley, R Paige, E Jantjies, J Kriel

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