Springboks name team for series opener with Ireland

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Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus named an experienced squad featuring 20 Rugby World Cup winners – the entire starting 15 and five players on the replacements’ bench – for their series opener with Ireland at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Springboks are heavily favored by the bookies to win at 2/5 according to Justcasinosites.com, as they look to avenge their World Cup defeat to Ireland last year.

The three players in the match-day 23 who did not participate in the international spectacle in France, where the Springboks claimed their second successive RWC title, are Gerhard Steenekamp (prop), Salmaan Moerat (lock) and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (utility back), who are elevated to a selection featuring a six-two bench split in favour of the forwards.

Twelve of the starting XV for Saturday’s showdown (six forwards and six backs) started in the 12-11 RWC final victory over New Zealand, with the other three (Willie le Roux, Kwagga Smith, and Ox Nche) coming off the bench in the final.

The selection of previously unavailable players means that the team shows eight changes to the one that defeated Wales by 41-13 in London 10 days ago as Erasmus welcomed back captain Siya Kolisi, Le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Handre Pollard, Marco van Staden, RG Snyman and Steenekamp.

Springbok team to face Ireland at Loftus Versfeld:

15 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights)
11 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls)
10 – Handré Pollard (Leicester Tigers)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles)

8 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Racing 92)
5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks)
1 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks)


16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears)
17 – Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls)
18 – Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks)
19 – Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers)
20 – RG Snyman (Leinster)
21 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls)
22 – Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks)
23 – Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers)

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