Rugby World Cup: South Africa name team to play Scotland two days early

South Africa have named their team two days early for their Rugby World Cup opener against Scotland in Marseille.
World Cup-winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk, left, will win his 50th cap against Scotland. Picture: AFP via Getty ImagesWorld Cup-winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk, left, will win his 50th cap against Scotland. Picture: AFP via Getty Images
World Cup-winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk, left, will win his 50th cap against Scotland. Picture: AFP via Getty Images

The holders were expected to make the announcement on Friday but released their line-up on Wednesday evening. Faf de Klerk, the Springboks scrum-half, wins his 50th cap and is one of 11 players to retain their starting places from the team which recorded a record victory against New Zealand at Twickenham two weeks ago. But there is no place in the squad for Canan Moodie who was so impressive at centre in the win over the All Blacks. Moodie misses out with a hamstring injury, and lock Jean Kleyn was also not considered due to a knee niggle.

There is only one change in the Springbok starting pack at No 8, where Jasper Wiese takes over from Duane Vermeulen, who moves to the bench, while the changes in the backline see Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel unite in a midfield pairing, and Cheslin Kolbe returns as a left wing in place of Makazole Mapimpi. As expected, head coach Jacques Nienaber has opted for a six-two split in favour of the forwards on the replacements’ bench with Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane (both props), RG Snyman (lock), Marco van Staden (flanker) and Vermeulen named as the impact forwards, while Grant Williams and Willie le Roux provide backline cover.

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“We are pleased with the squad depth we have built in the last few months, and we believe this group of players strikes the right balance to achieve the result we need against Scotland,” said Nienaber. “We’ve been working hard in the last few weeks to make sure we are as prepared as possible going into this match and we are fully aware of the challenge that awaits us.”

He said he expected a close match with Scotland. “Scotland are a quality team with a strong pack and skilful backs, and they play with a lot of intensity, so we need to be sharp on attack and defence on Sunday,” he said. “They have proved in the last few seasons that they can beat any team, and with this being the opening game of the World Cup for both sides, they will be equally as charged up as us for the match.”

Springbok team to face Scotland in Marseille:

15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 33 caps, 41 points (3t, 4c, 4pg, 2dg)

14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 10 caps, 55 points (11t)

13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 62 caps, 70 points (14t)

12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 73 caps, 50 points (10t)

11 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 26 caps, 81 points (12t, 3c, 5pg)

10 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 9 caps, 65 points (1t, 21c, 6pg)

9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 49 caps, 44 points (5t, 2c, 5pg)

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8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 23 caps, 5 points (1t)

7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 71 caps, 35 points (7t)

6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Racing 92) – 77 caps, 50 points (10t)

5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 67 caps, 15 points (3t)

4 – Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 113 caps, 25 points (5t)

3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 63 caps, 5 points (1t)

2 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 63 caps, 85 points (17t)

1 – Steven Kitshoff (Ulster) – 76 caps, 10 points (2t)


16 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 62 caps, 65 points (13t)

17 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 21 caps, 0 points

18 – Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92) – 62 caps, 5 points (1t)

19 – RG Snyman (Munster) – 28 caps, 5 points (1t)

20 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 14 caps, 0 points

21 – Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby) – 70 caps, 15 points (3t)

22 – Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 5 caps, 0 points

23 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 87 caps, 65 points (13t)

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