Fit-again wing Cheslin Kolbe returns to the Springbok team in the only change to the match 23 for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final against England at Yokohama International Stadium (kick off 11h00 SA time).
He regains the right wing berth from stand-in Sbu Nkosi in the only change to the team that eased their way to a 19-16 victory over Wales in Sunday’s semi-final.
Siya Kolisi will lead the team out for the 20th time as he becomes the eighth player in the 23 to have won 50 caps.
Rassie Erasmus, director of rugby, named the now familiar six-two split on the bench to field a settled line-up, 22 of whom will be appearing together for the fourth time in the tournament.
This line-up first played together in the play-off-clinching, 49-3, win over Italy a month ago and was retained for the quarter-final, semi-final and now final. Only Kolbe’s ankle injury interrupted the pattern.
That momentum has seen the Springboks lose only once in 11 tests in 2019, during which they claimed the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and climb back into the top two of the World Rugby rankings for the first time since August 2015.
Now rugby’s biggest prize was just 80 minutes away.
Kolisi has the opportunity to follow in footsteps of Francois Pienaar and John Smit by becoming the third Springbok captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
It would be achieved on the occasion of his 50th cap: Pienaar did it on his 21st appearance and Smit on his 74th.
The final kicks off at 11h00 (SA time) and is available on SuperSport channel 201, SABC TV and radio.
The Springbok team to play England in Yokohama on Saturday is:
- Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), 60 caps – 60 points (12 tries)
- Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), 13 – 35 (7t)
- Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), 14 – 15 (3t)
- Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), 46 – 30 (6t)
- Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), 13 – 65 (13t)
- Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), 47 – 435 (6t, 72c, 83p, 4d)
- Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), 29 – 20 (4t)
- Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls), 53 – 15 (3t)
- Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 54 – 25 (5t)
- Siya Kolisi (captain, DHL Stormers), 49 – 30 (6t)
- Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls) 44 – 25 (5t)
- Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), 84 – 15 (3t)
- Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), 37 – 5 (1t)
- Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 35 – 35 (7t)
- Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 116 – 10 (2t)
- Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 32 – 25 (5t)
- Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), 46 – 5 (1t)
- Vincent Koch (Saracens, England) 20 – 0
- RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), 22 – 5 (1t)
- Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), 38 – 5 (1t)
- Francois Louw (Bath, England), 75 – 50 (10t)
- Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), 9 – 20 (4t)
- Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France), 66 – 141 (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)