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Tuesday Aug 15, 2023

Siya Kolisi returns to captain Springboks against Wales

Talismanic figure Siya Kolisi is set to make his long-awaited return from injury against Wales this weekend.

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Named in the starting line-up by head coach Jacques Nienaber, Kolisi joins Pieter-Steph Du Toit and Jasper Weise in the backrow.

In the secondrow, it is an all-Munster affair as RG Snyman and Jean Kleyn link up whilst Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, and Steven Kitshoff form a formidable front-row trio.

In the backline, Jaden Hendrikse and Manie Libbok form a new look halfback partnership, with Damian De Allende and Jesse Kriel renewing their centre partnership.

Out wide, the experienced duo of Willie Le Roux and Cheslin Kolbe are joined by highly touted youngster Canan Moodie in the back three.

In total, there are eleven changes from the team that featured against Argentina two weeks ago.

Speaking at the team announcement, head coach Jacques Nienaber was keen to stress the importance of welcoming back players who have not featured heavily this season.

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“We have two Tests left before we begin our Rugby World Cup campaign, and our focus now is to start building momentum and continuity so that we can peak at the right time for our opening game against Scotland in just under four weeks,” said Nienaber.

“We gave most of the players in the expanded squad a run in the last four matches, and they are now battle-hardened, and we know anyone in this squad can step in and rise to the challenge whenever they are selected.

“Siya and Ox have been working extremely hard on their rehabilitation over the course of several weeks, and it’s fantastic that everything worked out according to plan to allow us to select them for this match.

“They have two matches to build up their match fitness before the World Cup, and although it will be important to manage their load in the match, it’s vital that they return to the field as they are key players in our set-up.”

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“Jaden was unfortunate not to play in the last few weeks, but he is a top-class player, and he’s been training hard, so we are pleased that he’ll finally get his chance this weekend. Unlike Siya and Ox, he’s been training fully with us for weeks, so it’s a matter of getting back into game mode for him.”

Nienaber expected a physical onslaught from Wales and said the team needed to be ready mentally and physically for the challenge.

“Wales are a gutsy team, and similarly to the Pumas, they don’t hold back,” said Nienaber.

“So, we need to be up for the match physically and get into every battle from the get-go. They’ll also draw confidence from the fact that they won four of their last five games against us at home, but we did well to grind out a win against them last year, so we expect it to be an epic battle.”

Springbok team to face Wales in Cardiff:
15 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 86 caps, 65 pts (13T)
14 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 6 caps, 10 pts (2T)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 61 caps, 60 pts (12T)
12 – Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights) – 72 caps, 50 pts (10T)
11 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 25 caps, 81 pts (12T, 3C, 5P)
10 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 7 caps, 45 pts (1T, 11C, 6P)
9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 12 caps, 12 pts (2T, 1C)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester) – 22 caps, 5 pts (1T)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 69 caps, 30 pts (6T)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain – Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 75 caps, 45 pts (9T)
5 – RG Snyman (Munster) – 26 caps, 5 pts (1T)
4 – Jean Kleyn (Munster) – 2 caps, 0 pts (Ireland 5 caps)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 61 caps, 5 pts (1T)
2 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 61 caps, 75 pts (15T)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (Ulster) – 74 caps, 10 pts (T)
Replacements:
16 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 60 caps, 60 pts (12T)
17 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 19 caps, 0 pts
18 – Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 45 caps, 0 pts
19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 65 caps, 15 pts (3T)
20 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 12 caps, 0 pts
21 – Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby) – 68 caps, 15 pts (3T)
22 – Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 4 caps, 0 pts
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 31 caps, 36 pts 36 (2T, 4C, 4P, 2D)

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