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Nienaber leaves team unchanged for England semi-final showdown

todayOctober 19, 2023 60

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As the most anticipated showdown nears, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has named an unchanged team to face England on Saturday at the Rugby World Cup in France.

He has also retained the same starting XV and replacements’ bench for the semi-final.

The team came out victorious by 1 point against World Cup hosts France in a thrilling 29-28 win at the Stade de France over the past weekend.

Saturday’s match will be a rerun of the 2019 World Cup decider in Japan, which the Boks won 32-12 and lifted the Webb Ellis trophy for the third time.

The selection is the most experienced in Springbok history – with a combined total of 895 caps – with 15 of the 23 having played against England four years ago.

Nienaber says they believe the team is in best form.

“We’ve been building a quality Rugby World Cup squad for the last few years so that we could be in this position going into the knockout matches. We have a squad of 33 players, all of whom are very closely matched in terms of their skill and quality of play, which made it tempting to make changes this week and it was tough to select this group both last week and this week.”

Nienaber says he expects a challenging match on Saturday as England come from five victories in a row and they are high on confidence.

The Springboks have played 45 games against England so far, won 27 of those, lost 16 and drew two.

Springbok team to face England in Paris:

15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 37 caps, 56 pts (4t, 9c, 4p, 2d)
14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 13 caps, 65 pts (13t)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 66 caps, 75 pts (15t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 76 caps, 55 pts (11t)
11 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 29 caps, 91 pts (14t, 3c, 5p)
10 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 84 pts (1t, 26c, 9p)
9 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 30 caps, 60 pts (12t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby) – 74 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 74 caps, 40 pts (8t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Racing 92) – 81 caps, 50 pts (10t)
5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 71 caps, 15 pts (3t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 117 caps, 30 pts (6t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 67 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 66 caps, 65pts (13t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (Ulster) – 81 caps, 10 pts (2t)

Replacements:

16 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) – 11 caps, 10 pts (2t)
17 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 26 caps, 0 pts
18 – Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 48 caps, 0pts
19 – RG Snyman (Munster) – 32 caps, 5pts (1t)
20 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 38 caps, 35 pts (7t)
21 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 53 caps, 48 pts (5t, 4c, 5p)
22 – Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers) – 68 caps, 678 pts (7T, 95C, 146P, 5D)
23 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 91 caps, 75 pts (15t)

 

 

Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris

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