Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks name familiar team against All Blacks

  • 18/09/2019

South Africa will field a near-unchanged side from their last encounter with the All Blacks in the rivals' Pool B World Cup opener in Yokohama on Saturday.

Coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed that Siya Kolisi's return as both the starting blindside flanker and captain would be the sole change to the team that snatched a 16-16 draw in Wellington in July.

The squad is identical to the one that beat Japan 41-7 two weeks ago.

"We’ve found some consistency and some momentum in a number of ways this season," said Erasmus. "And one of them is in selection.

"We have 31 players in the squad, any of whom I would be happy to select - as well as standby players back home - but this is a line-up that has worked well as a starting combination and one with real momentum to come from the bench."

Prop Trevor Nyakane retained his place on the bench, despite question marks over his fitness, while Cheslin Kolbe was preferred over the in-form Sbu Nkosi.

Smith or Nkosi were also left off the bench, with Francois Louw covering the back row and Jesse Kriel the back three.

Versatile 32-year-old Frans Steyn will cover the centres and act as back-up to starting five-eighth Handre Pollard, with Elton Jantjies missing out altogether, despite starting tests against Argentina and Australia in the No.10 shirt this year.

Duane Vermeulen will earn his 50th test cap at No.8 in South Africa's fifth meeting with the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks name familiar team against All Blacks
Photo credit: Newshub.

The Springboks won the 1995 final and 1999 bronze-medal match, while New Zealand took the 2003 quarter-final and 2015 semi-final.

Sarturday's match promises to be another razor-close encounter, where the victors will likely emerge as pool winners.

"Our last three matches have ended in stalemate - one win each and a draw, for an aggregate score of 82-82," Erasmus added.

"You couldn't say there is a favourite. I think we have a healthy respect for each other's capabilities, but it will come down to a small moment to decide a big game in the end, I suppose.

"Our job is to focus on executing our plan and our skills to the best of our ability, and hope that that is enough to overcome a New Zealand team that will be doing exactly the same."

South Africa: 1-Steven Kitshoff, 2-Malcolm Marx, 3-Frans Malherbe, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 5-Franco Mostert, 6-Siya Kolisi, 7-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 9-Faf de Klerk, 10-Handré Pollard, 11-Makazole Mapimpi, 12-Damian de Allende, 13-Lukhanyo Am, 14-Cheslin Kolbe, 15-Willie Le Roux

Reserves: 16-Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17-Tendai Mtawarira, 18-Trevor Nyakane, 19-RG Snyman, 20-Francois Louw, 21-Herschel Jantjies, 22-Francois Steyn, 23-Jesse Kriel.

AAP/Newshub

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