New Boks can stake claim

TONIGHT the Springboks kick off the final leg of a dream year when a second-string XV take on English club Leicester Tigers.

TONIGHT the Springboks kick off the final leg of a dream year when a second-string XV take on English club Leicester Tigers.

The Boks have a very settled first- choice team, who will play in the Test matches against France, Italy and Ireland, beginning next week, but this first game is an opportunity for newly selected players to stake their claim for a Test spot.

Bok coach Peter de Villiers is trying to ease his new players into the Bok setup by pairing them with more experienced players. Established locks Danie Rossouw and Andries Bekker should bring both certainty and competitiveness at lineout time to the pack.

The new-look loose trio of Dewald Potgieter, Davon Raubenheimer and Ashley Johnson have talent, but will have to adjust to the cold and wet conditions of northern hemisphere pitches.

Bulls hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle will captain the side, with props Gurthro Steenkamp and Jannie du Plessis beside him.

Marshalling the backline will be the exciting pairing of newbie Heini Adams at scrumhalf and Ruan Pienaar at flyhalf. Exciting young Western Province centre Juan de Jongh is paired with Bulls man Wynand Olivier. Erratic Lions utility back Earl Rose gets a chance to prove his worth at fullback.

Leicester have lost a few of their first- choice players to the English national team, but have quality to draw on. Former All Black centre Aaron Mauger will captain the side from flyhalf.

Kickoff is at 9.30pm (SA time).

X