Springboks Roll Out Big Guns For Japan Clash
South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus has named a formidable line-up for their final Rugby World Cup warm-up game, against Japan in Kumagaya.
22 of the Springbok 23 that fought to a last-gasp draw against New Zealand in July are included in the squad for Friday’s away clash.
The return to the starting line-up of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, now fully recovered from injury, is the only change to the team that drew 16-16 with the All Blacks to open the way to a first Rugby Championship in a decade, in Wellington six weeks ago.
Erasmus underlined the significance of the challenge and warned the Boks not to be complacent against a very good Japanese team.
It means there are 18 changes in personnel to the last selection – the team which defeated Argentina 24-18 – to complete the Springboks’ domestic programme at Loftus Versfeld two weeks ago.
The only survivors of that match – along with Kolisi – are RG Snyman and Jesse Kriel, who drop down to the bench, Faf de Klerk who returns to the starting line-up, and Frans Steyn, who covers several positions from the bench, for a fifth successive time.
Kolisi replaces Kwagga Smith – who drops out of the 23 altogether – in what has become an otherwise settled combination, appearing in essence for the third time this season. This was also the group which clinched the Rugby Championship with a resounding 46-13 victory over the Pumas in Salta.
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The current Springbok squad has nine survivors of that matchday 23 – Kriel, Handré Pollard, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Kolisi, Francois Louw, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Tendai Mtawarira and Trevor Nyakane – and Erasmus said the 2019 squad had discussed that match. Only De Jager will not re-appear on Friday.