South Africa skipper Siya Kolisi will be leading the Springboks in the opening Test against the British and Irish Lions to be played at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday after successful recovery from Covid-19.
Kolisi was among the 14 players test positive for coronavirus and was placed in isolation forcing him to miss the matches for South Africa A but now is back in the line-up along with wing Makazole Mapimpi and prop Ox Nché. Handre Pollard will start at fly-half and will win his 50th cap for the Springboks.
The matchday squad features 21 players from South Africa's World Cup winning campaign in 2019 with Willie le Roux starting at fullback along with Mapimpi at left wing and Cheslin Kolbe at right.
Lukhanyo Am, who captained South Africa A to win over Lions in the tour game will be part of the midfield that also has Damian de Allende. Faf de Klerk is named at scrum-half with Nche, Bongi Mbonambi and Trevor Nykane at front row while Kolisi is joined by Franco Mostert at second row.
Meanwhile, Kwagga Smith and Pieter-Steph du Toit join Kolisi at back row with Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Rynhardt Elstadt, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies and Damian Willemse part of the reserves.
“Some of the players didn’t have Covid-19 symptoms at all, they have been managed according to their individual needs, and they have really impressed me with their intensity and enthusiasm at training,” he said in a statement.
“The wellbeing of our players is of paramount importance, so we have been working closely with the medical team to work out what would be the best course of action for each player over the three-Test series.”
South Africa starting XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Kwagga Smith.
Reserves: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse