The Wallabies will get a look at the future of South African rugby this weekend when exciting Bulls fullback Jesse Kriel shifts to outside centre against the World XV in Cape Town.
It will be the 21-year-old’s first game for the Springboks, unfortunately for Kriel, Saturday’s (Sunday AEST) match will not count as a Test cap for the Super Rugby livewire.
He is expected to make his Test debut on Saturday week in Brisbane when the Springboks face the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship opener.
Kriel, who played Junior Springboks at outside centre, has the ability to become a great Test player, according to South African coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Jesse is an unbelievably exciting player and I have always rated him highly,” said Meyer, a coach not prone to false praise.
“He is probably among the most talented players I have coached and this is a great opportunity for him.
“I think he could go on to become one of the best outside centres South Africa has produced.
“Jesse has got acceleration that you do not often see.
“I like my number 13 to be able to take the outside gap, which not a lot of them can do.”
A believer in experience, the Springbok handler has shifted his faith to youth at centre and five-eighth for the clash with a World XV skippered by retired Springbok lock Bakkies Botha.
Kriel will partner Damian de Allende, 23, at centre with another 21-year-old, Handre Pollard, the playmaker.
“They are obviously going to make mistakes having never played together,” conceded Meyer.
“But whatever they lack in experience can be made up in excitement.”
South Africa began last season with a 47-13 triumph over a World XV, but Meyer believes it could be tougher this time.
“With the core of this World XV coming from Toulon, they will be a well-oiled machine who do not need a lot of time to find their feet,” he warned.
“Bakkies knows how we play and I must make some adjustments — but that is what international rugby is all about.”
Former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans handles a World squad that boasts two former All Blacks stalwarts, lock Ali Williams and prop Carl Hayman.
Among the matchday 23 are 10 players from European club champions Toulon, including the Armitage brothers, fullback Delon and flanker Steffon who have played for England.