Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus named an experienced squad featuring 20 Rugby World Cup winners for their opening Castle Lager Incoming Series Test against Ireland at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

The three players in the match-day 23 who did not participate in the international spectacle in France, where the Springboks claimed their second successive RWC title, are Gerhard Steenekamp [prop], Salmaan Moerat [lock] and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu [utility back]. They are elevated to a selection featuring a six-two bench split in favour of the forwards.

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Twelve of the starting XV for Saturday’s showdown (six forwards and six backs) started in the 12-11 RWC final victory over New Zealand, with the other three (Willie le Roux, Kwagga Smith and Ox Nche) coming off the bench in the final.

The selection of previously unavailable players means that the team shows eight changes to the one that defeated Wales by 41-13 in London 10 days ago as Erasmus welcomed back captain Siya Kolisi, Le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Handre Pollard, Marco van Staden, RG Snyman and Steenekamp.

“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.”

Rassie Erasmus names Springboks squad for Ireland showdown
Rassie Erasmus


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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