Starting XV for Carling Champions Match revealed

The names of the 15 players in the starting team for the exciting Carling Champions Match – which was selected by fans of the Carling Currie Cup teams – were revealed on Thursday, with Vodacom Bulls hooker Schalk Erasmus leading the way with the most votes from rugby supporters across South Africa.

The Champions Match will be played on Saturday, 6 November at Loftus Versfeld, where the selected team, to be coached by Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White, will face Kenya.

Erasmus is followed closely by his Vodacom Bulls team-mate Simphiwe Matanzima (prop), who managed to collect the second most votes for his inclusion in next weekend’s unique rugby spectacular at the home of the Carling Currie Cup champions.

Players from all seven provincial teams campaigning in the 2021 Carling Currie Cup were eligible for selection. However, it comes as no surprise that the squad – which also feature an extended replacements’ bench – is stacked with players from Vodacom Bulls, the Pretoria-based side who have been the dominant force in local rugby the last few seasons.

The Vodacom Bulls have no less than nine players in the squad of 30 players. The rest of the squad consists of six players from the Toyota Cheetahs, five DHL Western Province representatives and four from the Cell C Sharks. The remaining players were picked from the New Nation Pumas and Tafel Lager Griquas (two each) and the Sigma Lions (one).

In a first and unique concept for South African rugby, Carling Black Label – sponsor of the world’s oldest domestic rugby competition, the Currie Cup – has allowed fans to make their voices heard via their mobile phones (through USSD codes), on Facebook Messenger or the Carling Currie Cup website over the past few weeks.

The Carling Champions Match is a celebration of a sport loved by millions of South Africans and a thrilling showcase that comes on the same day the Springboks will start their Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

The full squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Sunday, where they will prepare for this special encounter.

The team for the Carling Champions Match is:

Props: Simphiwe Matanzima (Vodacom Bulls), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Cell C Sharks)
Hooker: Schalk Erasmus (Vodacom Bulls)
Locks: Reniel Hugo (Cell C Sharks), PJ Steenkamp (Sigma Lions)
Loose forwards: Arno Botha (Vodacom Bulls), Phumzile Maqondwana (New Nation Pumas), Nama Xaba (DHL Western Province)
Scrumhalf: Keagan Johannes (Vodacom Bulls)
Flyhalf: Brandon Thomson (Toyota Cheetahs)
Centres: Howard Mnisi (Toyota Cheetahs), Chris Smit (Toyota Cheetahs)
Wings: Stravino Jacobs (Vodacom Bulls), Werner Kok (Cell C Sharks)
Fullback: Sibongile Novuka (Vodacom Bulls)

Replacements (from):

Hooker: Chad Solomon (DHL Western Province)
Props: Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls), Aranos Coetzee (Toyota Cheetahs)
Lock: Reinhardt Ludwig (Vodacom Bulls)
Loose forwards: WJ Steenkamp (Vodacom Bulls), Marcel Theunissen (DHL Western Province)
Scrumhalves: Ginter Smuts (New Nation Pumas), Paul de Wet (DHL Western Province)
Flyhalf: George Whitehead (Tafel Lager Griquas)
Centres: Stedman Gans (Vodacom Bulls), Marius Louw (Cell C Sharks)
Wings: Tian Meyer (Toyota Cheetahs), Leolin Zas (DHL Western Province)
Fullback: Ashlon Davids (Tafel Lager Griquas)

Issued by SA Rugby Communications