Head coach Rassie Erasmus at the Springbok rugby team's announcement in Johannesburg, June 07 2018. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Head coach Rassie Erasmus at the Springbok rugby team's announcement in Johannesburg, June 07 2018. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

The average age of Rassie Erasmus’s side to play England at Ellis Park on Saturday is 25‚ but in perhaps a more illuminating pointer to the future‚ he has selected eight black players to meet the side in white.

Erasmus did not light fireworks to mark the occasion on Thursday. Instead the Bok coach spoke in practical terms of what he needed to do to prepare his side for the demands they would face in 2019. Either way‚ he will come out smelling like roses if he wins this series.

After selecting seven black players in an experimental side that played Wales last week, he went one better this week.

"It wasn’t difficult‚" he said when asked about his assembly of one of the most representative squads in Bok history. "We followed the players closely in Super Rugby. We were in communication with the Super Rugby coaches. There were work-ons for players to work on. We need to build squad depth. I’m very comfortable."

The starting team features debutants lock RG Snyman and wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and S’bu Nkosi.

"S’bu was close to making the side last year [2017] already‚" Erasmus said. "This year he’s been physical and doing a lot of great work on attack and defence and has improved in the areas in which we thought he may be vulnerable.

"Aphiwe is an exciting youngster. He’s playing at home. He has performed consistently well at centre and wing for the Lions.

"RG has without a doubt been one of the stand-out second-rowers in SA. Form has been rewarded for those guys‚" Erasmus said.

The team also features a return for fullback Willie le Roux‚ who enjoyed a stellar season with Wasps. The last time he played for the Boks was in Italy in 2016.

Tighthead Trevor Nyakane has a niggle and has been bracketed with Wilco Louw in the starting team.

The Springbok bench features last week’s debutants Ivan van Zyl‚ Thomas du Toit‚ Akker van der Merwe and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.

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