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Ireland to face most capped starting XV in Springbok history

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Tuesday Jul 9, 2024

Rassie Erasmus has named an unchanged squad to face Ireland in their second and final test on Saturday, as the world champions look to twist the sword into a wounded Irish side.

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The Springboks came through victorious in their first test at Loftus Versfeld last week as the two sides clashed in an almighty fixture. Rassie’s men came through unscathed, however the Irish side have picked up their fair share of injuries from the occasion.

It’s always tough facing Ireland,” said Erasmus ahead of this week’s match. “They are a quality team, they are ranked second in the world, and as we saw last week, they never stop fighting, so we know the magnitude of the challenge that awaits us this weekend.”

Despite the mounting injury list on the Irish side, Rassie is confident that the visitors will be out for revenge, saying:

“We have no doubt they’ll come out even stronger this week, but we also identified the areas of the game that we need to improve on, and it’s vital for us to build on our performance in our quest to win both matches.”

The lineup selected will mark the highest number of caps in any Springbok side in history with 990, but this hasn’t been a major factor in the head coach’s decision-making.

We don’t really look at such things when we select the team, but this shows how blessed we are with the depth in the squad and the quality of the players we have.

The centre pairing of Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende will set a new record of playing the most Test matches together in the midfield (30), which surpasses the previous record set by Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie of 29 Tests.

Ensuring that his side will not let their guard slip, Erasmus offered respect to Ireland, stating:

We’ve been on the wrong side of the scoreboard on a few occasions too and we remember how it felt to suffer a defeat against them in the World Cup pool stages, and we have no doubt they are feeling the same this week.

“They are a proud team and nation and they’ll be disappointed that they were unable to capitalise on a few opportunities last week close to our tryline, so they will work hard this week to fix their mistakes and ensure that they convert their chances into points.

“This is going to be another physically gruelling match, and just like us, they will be determined to correct the wrongs of last week.

“There is also the other important matter of them of trying to draw the series, while we would be delighted to win both matches, which will fuel their motivation, so it is going to be another spectacle of top-class rugby.”

Springbok team to face Ireland in Durban:
15 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 94 caps, 75 pts (15t)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 32 caps, 96 points (15t, 3c, 5p)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 70 caps, 80 points (16t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 80 caps, 55 points (11t)
11 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 16 caps, 70 points (14t)
10 – Handré Pollard (Leicester Tigers) – 70 caps, 708 points (7t, 98c, 154p, 5dg)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 57 caps, 50 points (5t, 5c, 5pg)
8 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 42 caps, 35 pts (7t)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 79 caps, 40 points (8t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Racing 92) – 84 caps, 50 points (10t)
5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 75 caps, 15 points (3t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 121 caps, 30 points (6t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 71 caps, 5 points (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 70 caps, 70 points (14t)
1 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 29 caps, 0 pts

Replacements:
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 66 caps, 85 points (17t)
17 – Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls) – 2 caps, 0 points
18 – Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 51 caps, 0 points
19 – Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers) – 5 caps, 0 points
20 – RG Snyman (Leinster) – 35 caps, 10 points (2t)
21 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 19 caps, 0 pts
22 – Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 10 caps, 10 points (2t)
23 – Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers) – 2 caps, 7 points (2c, 1p)

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