Cape Town – There are no less than 10 uncapped Springboks in the current squad that will do battle against Ireland over the next three weekends.
Just hopw many of those will see action in Cape Town this Saturday remains to be seen, but such a high number of potential debutants is as good an indication as any that this is a new dawn of South African rugby.
Bok coach Allister Coetzee has never been afraid to give big opportunities to youngsters.
He was known for that during his time at the Stormers, and he has now thrown a few new faces onto the highest stage a little earlier than perhaps even they would have expected.
It can be a daunting experience for a young player, but captain Adriaan Strauss has encouraged the newbies to embrace the moment.
“It’s always challenging for new guys entering the squad,
the pressure will be building,” Strauss acknowkedged.
“But there are a lot of senior guys in the squad,
a lot of guys who have been through this before and they will lead the guys
through an exciting first cap, whoever gets the opportunity.
“It doesn’t have to
be a nerve-wracking event, it can be an exciting one as well and I think that’s
the environment that we want to create.”
Strauss is in unfamiliar territory himself after being named as captain for the series, but he is taking it in his stride.
“It was very exciting, especially when coach made the announcement last week,” he said.
“But I’ve never been one to really get nervous. I understand the seriousness of it all, but I am pretty relaxed about it, to be honest.”
Kick-off at Newlands on Saturday is at 17:00 and the Boks will name their side on Thursday.