Cape Town – Rassie Erasmus named 22 of the Springbok 23
that fought to a last-gasp draw against New Zealand in July, for Friday’s clash
with Japan in Kumagaya, which will mark the 50th Test appearance for
Pieter-Steph du Toit, SA Rugby’s Player of the Year for 2018.
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.
It means there are 18 changes in personnel to
the last selection – the team which defeated Argentina, 26-24 – 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
“I hope this selection will send a strong
message that we have the utmost respect for Japan,” said Erasmus.
“Perhaps we made the mistake of complacency
against them in the past but we’ve been hammering the message all week that we
should never do that again against Japan.
“They’re a smart team of great athletes,
playing at home, having won a title won in the past month and now desperate to
“This Test is as big a challenge as any we’ve
had this season.”
Japan beat Fiji, the USA and Tonga to claim the
Pacific Rugby Championship recently and have been in camp lying in wait for the
Springboks, said Erasmus.
The Japanese have a 100 percent record against
South Africa, having famously won the only meeting between the teams, 34-32, at
Brighton in England during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The current Springbok squad has nine survivors
of that match-day 23 – Kriel, Handré Pollard, 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
“That kind of result can easily happen again if
we don’t learn from the past,” he said.
“Our players who were there have held up their
hand and said they totally under-estimated Japan. If our mindset isn’t right
and we’re looking beyond this game then we’ll play right into Japan’s hands.
“This is a Springbok Test match against a team
ranked in the world’s top ten, in their own backyard, and we’ve got to be
full-on if we want to win – anything less and we’ll be in trouble.”
Japan beat Italy at home a year ago and also
led England at halftime at Twickenham in November 2018, during a sequence of
six victories in nine matches since the start of that year which has seen them
climb the rankings to equal their highest place ever position of ninth.
Friday’s match kicks off at 12:15 SA time at
the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium – a 26 500 seater venue which will host matches at
the subsequent Rugby World Cup.
The match will be screened live on SuperSport
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel
Source link : https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Springboks/springboks-name-formidable-line-up-for-japan-clash-20190903-2
Publish date : 2019-09-03 04:48:00