Try machine Makazole Mapimpi is one of three Southern Kings players who have been named in the South African A side to face the French Barbarians at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban tomorrow.
Mapimpi, who has scored seven Super Rugby tries this season, has been included in the starting lineup alongside in-form Kings flyhalf Lionel Cronje.
A third Kings star, Andisa Ntsila, will be on the bench. South African coach Johan Ackermann appointed Juan de Jongh (19 tests) as captain for the two match series against the French Baabaas.
He also included fellow Springboks Lwazi Mvovo (17 tests), Ruan Combrinck (7 tests), Jano Vermaak (3 tests) and Uzair Cassiem (1 test) in the run-on team, while Trevor Nyakane (28 tests) and Francois Venter (3 tests) are on the bench. Eight other players – Lionel Cronje, Dewaldt Duvenage, Ruan Botha, Wilco Louw, Franco Marais, Thomas du Toit, Ox Nche and Jason Jenkins – represented the Junior Springboks earlier in their careers.
Ackermann is keen to see how the team play together as a unit.
“We had some good training sessions and everyone is on the same page with regards to our approach and objectives for this match,” he said.
“All the players are on form and they have been training well, so it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
“Unfortunately, I could not include all the players in our squad in the team, but we will make some changes next week for the encounter at the Orlando Stadium to give everyone game time.
“The French Barbarians named a very strong team and we need to be pretty precise in game management and execution to keep them at bay.
“I expect them to be very attack-minded as well, so we need to find the correct balance in our approach.”
Ackermann said the team was in high spirits about the prospect of playing at the iconic venue.
“Everyone is excited to be the first team ever to play a big rugby match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium,” he said.
“These are moments we will cherish as a squad. What will make it more ideal, is to have strong support at this magnificent venue and we hope to put on a performance which the spectators will enjoy.”
South Africa A team:
Lwazi Mvovo‚ Ruan Combrinck‚ Juan de Jongh‚ Harold Vorster‚ Makazole Mapimpi‚ Lionel Cronje‚ Jano Vermaak‚ Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ Ruan Ackermann‚ Uzair Cassiem‚ Ruan Botha‚ Andries Ferreira‚ Wilco Louw‚ Franco Marais‚ Thomas du Toit. Replacements: Ramone Samuels‚ Ox Nche‚ Trevor Nyakane‚ Jason Jenkins‚ Andisa Ntsila‚ Dewaldt Duvenage‚ Fred Zeilinga‚ Francois Venter