The Springbok squad heading to Japan has been announced and will be led by Siya Kolisi. The squad shows a mix of youth and experience as the team take on their fifth challenge for the World Cup title.
The team was announced by SA Rugby president Mark Alexander on Monday 26 August. Three players will be attending their third Rugby World Cup (Tendai Mtawarira, Frans Steyn and Francois Louw) while 12 players will be embarking on their second world cup tournament. This factors in a wealth of experience and wisdom from players that are familiar the pressures of a World Cup tournament. Five players already have more than 50 caps, Etzebeth, le Roux, Louw, Steyn and Mtawarira with Tendai having the most experience with 110 caps.
Fourteen members of the squad will be going to a World Cup for the very first time. Six players have only been capped within the past two seasons Herschel Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe, Sbu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi, Kwagga Smith and RG Snyman.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has the following to say:
“We have been developing this squad since the start of last season and in the 31 we have a good balance of established experience and some exciting youth.
“We set out with the goal of growing the depth of the squad and I am confident that any of this 31 can step into a play-off match at the Rugby World Cup and deliver an outstanding performance.”
The squad will leave on Friday for Japan and will be one of the first teams to arrive for the World Cup. They will play a warm-up game against the hosts on Friday 6 September. The Springboks will then open their World Cup campaign against the All Blacks on Saturday 21 September. They will then have further pool matches against Namibia (28 September), Italy (4 October) and Canada (8 October)
Springboks’ 31-man Rugby World Cup squad:
Schalk Brits (Bulls), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (captain, Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)
Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), S’bu Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)