Tearaway Southern Kings loose forwards Chris Cloete and Andisa Ntsila have been included in the South African A side to face the French Barbarians at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto tomorrow.
Both have been in fine form for the Kings in Super Rugby and will welcome this opportunity to impress in the green and gold.
Two other Kings players, Lionel Cronje and Makazole Mapimpi, who impressed when SA A beat the Barbarians in Durban last week, have been rested. Springbok midfielder Francois Venter takes over the captaincy from Juan de Jongh, who is on the bench alongside Handre Pollard.
SA A coach Johan Ackermann said the reason for the changes was to accommodate all the players in the squad, while at the same time assisting Springbok coach Allister Coetzee with a request for game-time for certain players.
Only two players who started at Moses Mabhida last week, Lwazi Mvovo and Ruan Botha, will run out again this weekend. Mvovo, however, moves to the wing, where he will partner Blitzbok star Seabelo Senatla.
“All the players in the squad have worked incredibly hard over the last two weeks and it’s just fair to give all of them a run against the French Barbarians,” Ackermann said.
“At the same time, the Springbok cause is very important with the rest of the season in mind.”
Ackermann said the decision to award Venter the captaincy was an easy one: “Francois has led the Cheetahs very well in recent seasons and he brings international experience to the team.
“He was also our vice-captain last year, so he has a good idea of what we would like to achieve on the field in this match. “Francois is one of eight players in the team who has played test rugby for South Africa.
“This experience could be vital again, as we saw in Durban last week, when we were with our backs against the wall. “These players put their hands up and led from the front. “There are also a number of players in this squad who I’m sure will still play for the Springboks and I’ve really enjoyed working with them.”
Ackermann said players not in the match-23 for this encounter would remain with the squad, but would be released for SuperSport Rugby duty should their provinces request that.
The team: Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Lionel Mapoe (Lions), Francois Venter (capt, Cheetahs), Seabelo Senatla (Stormers), Fred Zeilinga (Cheetahs), Dewaldt Duvenage (Stormers), Andisa Ntsila (Kings), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers), Chris Cloete (Kings), Ruan Botha (Sharks), Jason Jenkins (Bulls), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Ramone Samuels (Stormers), Ox Nche (Cheetahs). Replacements: Franco Marais (Sharks, Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Wilco Louw (Stormers), Uzair Cassiem (Cheetahs),Ruan Ackermann (Lions), Jano Vermaak (Stormers), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Juan de Jongh ( S t o rm e r s )