Damian Willemse set to feature at full-back for South Africa in Rugby Championship

Damian Willemse has been named in the South Africa squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

However, Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says back Willemse will probably not be used at his preferred position of fly-half ahead of incumbent Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies.

Willemse, 20, had a solid 2018 Super Rugby season in the number 10 jersey for the Stormers, and is set for a South Africa debut in the upcoming home and away matches against Argentina.

But Erasmus said: “No fly-half under the age of 24 has ever won a World Cup.

“The number 10 is your quarterback, he is the guy who has to take control.

“At this point it may be a better idea to play Damian at 15 (full-back), where there is less pressure.

“He is physically ready for Test rugby, even at the age of 20. He will get his chance against Argentina.”

The Bok coach said it was a “no-brainer” to retain loose-forward Siya Kolisi as captain, despite the return from injury of former skipper Warren Whiteley.

Erasmus said: “Now that all the hoo-ha of him getting the captaincy has died down and it’s a more comfortable thing for him, we may see Siya taking his game to another level.”

And Kolisi may be switched from openside to blindside flanker.

“I’ve always thought he was a stronger counter-rucker,” said Erasmus.

“With his lineout ability, he’s an excellent option at blindside flank. It will be nice to build a back row around a player like Siya.”

The Boks start their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina in Durban on August 18.

South Africa squad:

Forwards – E Etzebeth, S Kitshoff, S Kolisi (captain), W Louw, F Malherbe, B Mbonambi, S Notshe, P-S du Toit (all Western Stormers), C Brink, M Marx, F Mostert, M Orie, W Whiteley (all Golden Lions), A van der Merwe, T Mtawarira, J-L du Preez, T du Toit (all Coastal Sharks), RG Snyman, M van Staden (both Northern Bulls), F Louw (Bath).

Backs – L Am, A Esterhuizen, M Mapimpi, L Mvovo (all Sharks), R Cronje, A Dyantyi, E Janjies, L Mapoe (all Lions), J Kriel, E Papier, H Pollard, I van Zyl (all Bulls), F de Klerk (Sale Sharks), W le Roux (Wasps), D Willemse (Stormers).

Source.