Damian Willemse starts at full-back for South Africa against England with Willie le Roux unavailable as Rassie Erasmus makes seven changes
- South Africa face England at Twickenham in opening autumn international
- Head coach Rassie Erasmus has made seven change from All Blacks defeat
- Full-back Willie le Roux ineligible as match falls outside international window
- 20-year-old Damian Willemse comes in to start at No 15 for the Springboks
Rassie Erasmus has backed full South Africa debutant Damian Willemse to cope with the pressure of facing England at Twickenham.
Full-back Willemse steps into the starting line-up in the absence of Wasps’ Willie le Roux, who is unable to play with Saturday’s England clash falling outside the official World Rugby November Test window.
South Africa show seven changes from the starting line-up that just lost out 32-20 to New Zealand in Pretoria, with Willemse winning his fourth cap.
20-year-old Damian Willemse (centre) will start at full-back in the absence of Willie le Roux
Head coach Rassie Erasmus has made seven changes from the side which lost to the All Blacks
England v South Africa teams
E Daly; J Nowell, H Slade, B Te’o, J May; O Farrell (co-capt), B Youngs; A Hepburn, D Hartley (co-capt), K Sinckler; M Itoje, G Kruis; B Shields , M Wilson, T Curry.
SUBS: J George, B Moon, H Williams, C Ewels, Z Mercer, D Care, G Ford, M Tuilagi.
D Willemse; S Nkosi, J Kriel, D de Allende, A Dyantyi; H Pollard, I van Zyl; S Kitshoff, M Marx, F Malherbe; E Etzebeth, P-S du Toit; S Kolisi (capt), W Whiteley, D Vermeulen.
SUBS: B Mbonambi, T du Toit, W Louw, RG Snyman, L de Jager, E Papier, E Jantjies, A Esterhuizen.
‘Damian is very comfortable in the set-up,’ said Springboks boss Erasmus. ‘We have always had Willie le Roux available previously, but Damian deserves his chance now.
‘With the World Cup in mind it’s going to be good for the whole team. He’s going to play in front of a full house with lots of pressure and a tough kicking game.
‘So we’ll learn a lot about him and he deserves his chance.’
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