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Springboks name 12 starters from World Cup final for Ireland clash

By Josh Raisey
Siya Kolisi of South Africa during the South Africa men's national rugby team photograph, captains run and press conference at Twickenham on June 21, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Harding/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus has made eight changes to his South Africa team from the one that beat Wales two weeks ago for the clash against Ireland on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.


Twelve of the XV that will run out in Pretoria started in the World Cup final eight months ago, as the Boks lifted their fourth Webb Ellis Cup. Two of the absent starters at the Stade de France, fullback Damian Willemse and loosehead Steven Kitshoff, are injured, while No8 Duane Vermeulen is now part of Erasmus’ coaching staff.

The three changes in the pack from the win over Wales see hooker Bongi Mbonambi and tighthead Frans Malherbe start in place of Malcolm Marx and Vincent Koch, who have both dropped to the bench. The return of captain Siya Kolisi is the final change in the pack, who comes in in place of Evan Roos, who has dropped out of the squad completely.

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Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel are the only survivors from the 41-13 win over Wales at Twickenham in the back line, as four starters from the World Cup final last year – Handre Pollard, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian de Allende and Cheslin Kolbe – all return. Fullback Willie le Roux is the final change, who started on the bench against the All Blacks in Paris.

Erasmus has also reverted back to the 6-2 split on the bench, with Grant Williams and the newly capped Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu being the two backs on the bench. The head coach said the pair provide “additional options” with their positional versatility.

South Africa
27 - 20
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“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,” said Erasmus.

“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 and play against the best teams in the world.


“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.

“Ireland have had the upper hand over us in the last few years and they will certainly want to build on that on Saturday.

“They have a few new players in their ranks this year, but so do we and that contributes to the excitement for the match.

“They are a physical team that never give up, but the margins between the teams are fairly small, so it’s going to be an intense battle and one that will require a resolute performance for the full 80 minutes.”


Springboks XV
15 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 93 caps, 75 pts (15t)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 31 caps, 91 points (14t, 3c, 5p)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 67 caps, 80 points (16t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 78 caps, 55 points (11t)
11 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 15 caps, 65 points (13t)
10 – Handré Pollard (Leicester Tigers) – 69 caps, 698 points (7t, 96c, 152p, 5dg)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 56 caps, 50 points (5t, 5c, 5pg)
8 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 41 caps, 35 pts (7t)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) 78 caps, 40 points (8t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Racing 92) – 83 caps, 50 points (10t)
5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 74 caps, 15 points (3t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 120 caps, 30 points (6t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 70 caps, 5 points (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 69 caps, 70 points (14t)
1 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 28 caps, 0 pts

16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 65 caps, 85 points (17t)
17 – Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls) – 1 cap, 0 points
18 – Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 50 caps, 5 points (1t)
19 – Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers) – 4 caps, 0 points
20 – RG Snyman (Leinster) – 34 caps, 10 points (2t)
21 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 18 caps, 0 pts
22 – Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 9 caps, 10 points (2t)
23 – Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers) – 1 cap, 7 points (2c, 1p)



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John 16 days ago

12 starters? must be confident to play 3 men down to start…

On a serious note, 1st choice to secure a win and then try new combos in game 2. This is the 1st year in the next 4 yr cycle to the RWC so be brave

patrick 17 days ago

What’re the odd on RG Snyman heading back to Ireland injured so missing the start of the season again ?

Jan 17 days ago

That’s a fairly predictable team. Glad to see Steenekamp and Sacha on the bench.

Flankly 17 days ago

To state the obvious, it’s about as settled a team as they could have picked. Apart from the forced absence of a few players (Willemse, Kitshoff, Wiese) it has to be close to Rassie’s first choice 23. The plan must be to maximize the chances of a good start to the series and the season, before giving some of the new faces a shot.

Sacha and Williams in the last quarter could be fun to watch, especially as tired legs can be a Loftus thing. And it will be interesting is to see how aggressive they are in deploying the new Tony Brown attacking structures.

Ireland are a great team, but they will need a special performance to beat this Bok lineup.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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