Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus on Thursday pointed to the stark reality facing his charges against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
“This match will be a huge tactical affair with much of the outcome depending on how you handle the set phases and kicking game,” he said.
For the battle of the set-piece, Erasmus has picked no less than four locks in the 23-man match squad.
Yet for the kicking showdown, there’s a back three with an average age of 22 and a combined 15 international caps between them.
To say the pressure will be on Damian Willemse, S’bu Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi is a bit of an understatement.
The heat is definitely on these three rookies.
Nkosi and Dyantyi, however, combined well in June’s home series against selfsame England and possess the type of all-round games that help wingers cope with slower conditions of the Northern Hemisphere.
But Willemse will have his work cut out.
The 20-year-old is used to playing fullback, but has been switched between three different positions in the previous three weeks for Western Province.
Not that his boot will be the only one tested.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard needs to show his improved form in the latter stages of the Rugby Championship wasn’t a fluke, while his halfback partner Ivan van Zyl is also very inexperienced.
In all honesty, Erasmus’ team smacks of one that had to be cut and pasted due to the unavailability of several overseas-based stars.
The loose trio of Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen and Warren Whiteley is powerful in the physical stakes, but unbalanced.
Don’t be surprised if the invaluable Pieter-Steph du Toit is shifted to No 7 fairly early during proceedings.
Springboks: Damian Willemse, S’bu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handre Pollard, Ivan van Zyl, Warren Whiteley, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi (c), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff. Bench: Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Wilco Louw, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Embrose Papier, Elton Jantjies, Andre Esterhuizen.