Duane Vermeulen to captain Springboks in Rugby Championship opener

Duane Vermeulen Springboks
Duane Vermeulen.

Loose forward Duane Vermeulen has been named Springboks captain for Saturday’s Rugby Championship fixture against Australia in Pretoria.

Vermeulen has not played Test rugby since 2021. He will captain the team in the absence of the injured Siya Kolisi.

Vermeulen has captained the Springboks twice previously – against Argentina and New Zealand in 2019.

“We had a few options as potential captains and we have two good leaders in Duane and Lukhanyo Am, who has been named vice-captain for this match. They are both quality leaders and they’ll have a lot of experience around them on the field, which is fantastic for us as coaches,” said head coach Jacques Nienaber.

Jean Kleyn to debut for Springboks

Former Ireland lock Jean Kleyn will debut for the Springboks on Saturday.

Flyhalf Manie Libbok and loose forward Marco van Staden have been named in the starting XV.

“Our plan from the outset was to select a squad that we believe has what it takes to beat Australia while at the same time selecting a group of players that could travel to New Zealand to give us the best possible chance to do well in both matches,” added Nienaber.

“This squad features several Rugby World Cup winners and a crop of younger players who have done the job for us at the highest level, and judging by their enthusiasm and high work ethic at training, we know they are the right players for this big task.”

Springboks team to play Australia

15. Willie le Roux
14. Canan Moodie
13. Lukhanyo Am
12. Andre Esterhuizen
11. Kurt-Lee Arendse
10. Manie Libbok
9. Cobus Reinach
8. Duane Vermeulen (captain)
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit
6. Marco van Staden
5. Marvin Orie
4. Jean Kleyn
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Bongi Mbonambi
1. Ox Nche


16. Joseph Dweba
17. Thomas du Toit
18. Vincent Koch
19. RG Snyman
20. Evan Roos
21. Deon Fourie
22. Grant Williams
23. Damian Willemse

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