HomeSportsSouth Africa vs Ireland: Rassie Erasmus names 12 World Cup final starters...

South Africa vs Ireland: Rassie Erasmus names 12 World Cup final starters to face tourists in first Test


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Rassie Erasmus has named 12 starters from the 2023 Rugby World Cup final in South Africa’s team to play Ireland in the first of two highly anticipated home Tests at Loftus Stadium on Saturday.

Only full-back Willie le Roux, No 8 Kwagga Smith and prop Ox Nche did not start the 12-11 victory over New Zealand in Paris in October last year, though they all did come on as replacements.

Handre Pollard is back at fly-half after missing the Springboks’ 41-13 victory over Wales in London last month, along with a host of other first-choice players who sat out that fixture as it fell outside of the international window.

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Highlights from the summer international clash between Wales and South Africa at Twickenham.

“This is the team we believe will give us the impetus we need against Ireland, who are the second-highest ranked team in the world,” Erasmus said.

“We are blessed to have a lot of depth in our squad, and we are in a fortunate position to have several Rugby World Cup winners in our ranks who know what it takes to perform at the highest level.

“The fact that most of these guys have played together is a bonus for us, and most of them have faced Ireland before so they are well aware of the challenge that lies ahead, especially since we haven’t beaten them since 2016.”

Only three of the Springboks match-day squad against Ireland were not involved in their World Cup triumph in France, in prop Gerhard Steenekamp, lock Salmaan Moerat and utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

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Erasmus has opted for a 6-2 split between forwards and backs on the bench, aided by the versatility of Feinberg-Mngomezulu, who can cover fly-half, centre and full-back, and Grant Williams, who is usually a scrum-half but can also play on the wing.

Ireland have never won a Test series in South Africa but were the only team to beat the Springboks at last year’s World Cup when they triumphed 13-8 in Paris before losing to New Zealand in the quarter-finals.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Ox Nche, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Kwagga Smith.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Marco van Staden, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

Watch Ireland against South Africa live on Saturday from 3.30am on Sky Sports Action (4pm kick-off). Stream rugby’s summer internationals in 2024 and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership. No contract, cancel anytime.

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