Smit wears No3 for Boks

Springbok skipper John Smit will start at tight-head prop against a Namibian XV this Friday. [more]

Smit wears No3 for Boks

Springbok skipper John Smit will start at tight-head prop against a Namibian XV this Friday.

The World Cup winning captain has played the vast majority of his lengthy career at hooker but now looks set to face Ian McGeechan’s Lions wearing the No3 shirt.

Smit was trialed at tight-head during the November tour of the UK but an injury to Bismarck du Plessis meant he quickly reverted back to the middle of the front row.

Despite limited game time in his new position, his selection for the Boks’ only warm-up fixture prior to their three-match series against the Lions suggests that he will feature at prop when it comes to the hugely-anticipated clash with the best Britain and Ireland has to offer.

Apart from the decision to select Smit at tight-head, the major talking point in head coach Peter de Villiers’ selection for the game in Windhoek centres on the inclusion of three new Springbok caps.

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De Villiers gives debuts to full back Earl Rose, centre Morgan Newman and flanker Jean Deysel.

Rose is a 25-year-old from the Golden Lions outfit who was a member of the Springbok training camp in 2008 and has also featured as a fly-half at Super 14 and Currie Cup level, but his selection is somewhat of a surprise after a poor display against the Highlanders recently.

Newman has failed to establish himself in the Stormers’ starting line up this season but could yet make a name for himself at international level just three weeks before the Lions arrive at the ABSA Stadium.

And while Deysel has been in fine form for the Sharks this year, it would be a major surprise if he was chosen above fellow flankers Schalk Burger and Juan Smith for the series against the Lions.

A further three uncapped players have been selected among the replacements in Cheetahs prop Wian du Preez, Sharks lock Steven Sykes and Golden Lions scrum-half Jano Vermaak.

"We know what we have in our established players and want to use this match as an opportunity to see what the new players offer and also give them an opportunity to show what they can do at another level," said De Villiers.

"We are blessed in South Africa in that we have so many good rugby players. If a player is good enough to play Super 14 he could be good enough to make the step up to the Springbok side. What we look for at this level are finer but very relevant items such as attitude and discipline, if they fit into the team dynamic and combinations.

"I am very happy with the preparations for this game. We had a good session on Wednesday and will take it up a level in Windhoek when we arrive on Thursday.

"I am impressed with the attitude of the guys here and with the speed at which they have settled and got the systems working."

South Africa XV: 15 Earl Rose, 14 Jongi Nokwe, 13 Morgan Newman, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie; 1 Beast Mtawarira, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 3 John Smit (c), 4 Johann Muller, 5 Andries Bekker, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 7 Jean Deysel, 8 Ryan Kankowski

Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Juan Smith, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Jean de Villiers, 23 Adi Jacobs, 24 JP Pietersen

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