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South Africa unchanged for Rugby World Cup opener against New Zealand | Rugby Union News

Last Updated: 18/09/19 7:43am

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi is the only change to the Springboks starting XV from their last meeting with the All Blacks

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi is the only change to the Springboks starting XV from their last meeting with the All Blacks

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi is the only change to the Springboks starting XV from their last meeting with the All Blacks

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus made just one change from the starting XV that drew with New Zealand in July when he named his team for Saturday’s crunch Rugby World Cup clash with the reigning champions.

Siya Kolisi, who missed the 16-16 Wellington draw because of injury, will captain the side at openside flanker in place of Kwagga Smith to make up an imposing back row with number eight Duane Vermeulen and blindside Pieter Steph du Toit.

Otherwise, Erasmus has stuck with the side that last played the All Blacks for a match that is likely to decide who wins Pool B and enjoys the potentially relatively easier path through to the final.

Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus has named an unchanged squad from his side's final warm-up match Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus has named an unchanged squad from his side's final warm-up match

Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus has named an unchanged squad from his side’s final warm-up match

The matchday squad for the Yokohama clash was identical to the one Erasmus put out for the 41-7 victory over Japan in Kumagaya this month that kept the Springboks unbeaten this year.

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

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

“We’re continuing to develop and new players are always pushing a claim but we’ve prepared well and we’re looking forward to what will be another extremely close match.”

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Highlights from a dramatic 16-16 draw between New Zealand and South Africa in the Rugby Championship in Wellington on July 27

Highlights from a dramatic 16-16 draw between New Zealand and South Africa in the Rugby Championship in Wellington on July 27

Prop Trevor Nyakane retained his place on the bench despite question marks over his fitness, while Cheslin Kolbe held onto his place on the right wing despite the form of Sbu Nkosi.

There was no place for Smith or Nkosi on the bench, with Francois Louw covering the back row and Jesse Kriel the back three.

The versatile 32-year-old Frans Steyn will cover the centres and act as back-up to starting flyhalf Handre Pollard, with Elton Jantjies missing out altogether despite starting tests against Argentina and Australia in the number 10 shirt this year.

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

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

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