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Springboks hand Faf de Klerk debut as new era begins against Ireland

Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Faf de Klerk will make his Springbok debut on Saturday as South Africa attempt to kick off the Allister Coetzee era in style against Ireland.

Lions scrum-half de Klerk is one of six players involved who weren't part of the Springbok squad that came third at the Rugby World Cup.

Centre Lionel Mapoe will make his first Test start, while there is a place on the replacements bench for Elton Jantjies, Warren Whiteley, Julian Redelinghuys and uncapped hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

Hooker Adriaan Strauss has been named captain, and will become the 57th man to lead the Springboks in a Test match.

"I have no doubt Faf will do a fantastic job," said Coetzee. "He has lots of experience around him in the form of Pat next to him and Duane Vermeulen at the back of the scrum. So in that sense he will be looked after, but I know Faf can also look after himself.

"Both our fly-halves, Pat and Elton, have been in outstanding form in Super Rugby and it's great to have both of them available and in the matchday squad. To have a right and left foot kicker at half-back is always a good option."

South Africa squad (to play Ireland):

Le Roux, Pietersen, Mapoe, De Allende, Mvovo, Lambie, de Klerk; Mtawarira, Strauss (captain), Malherbe, Etzebeth, de Jager, Louw, Kolisi, Vermeulen.

Replacements: Mbonambi, Nyakane, Redelinghuys, du Toit, Whiteley, Paige, Jantjies, Kriel.