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Springboks name 7 - 1 bench for Rugby World Cup final

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Reigning Rugby World Cup champions South Africa have named a team that includes 7 forward replacements on the bench with Willie le Roux the lone backline player.

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The 23 is the most experienced Springbok team of all time and includes ten players who started the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

Outside of the 7 – 1 bench split, the headline selection sees Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard renew their record breaking halfback partnership as they line-up together for the 25th time.

Speaking on his selection, head coach Jacques Nienaber said, “This is an experienced team with several players who played in the last Rugby World Cup final and who know exactly what to expect at Stade de France on Saturday and what it will take to retain the title.

“The players who will be playing in their first World Cup final have also proven their worth as warriors throughout this campaign and they are all ready for this massive occasion.

“We have said many times that we pick teams for varying gameplans depending on the opponent and that we use all 23 players to try and achieve those goals.

“We’ve gone from a five-three bench split to a seven-one split to give us the best chance of being successful. We have plans in place to mitigate for injuries in the backline, but we’re excited about our plan and we embrace the risk.

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In full the Springboks will be as follows:

Springbok team to face New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final:
15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 38 caps, 56 pts (4t, 9c, 4p, 2d)
14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 14 caps, 65 points (13t)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 67 caps, 75 points (15t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 77 caps, 55 points (11t)
11 – Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 30 caps, 91 points (14t, 3c, 5p)
10 – Handré Pollard (Leicester Tigers) – 68 caps, 686 points (7t, 96c, 148p, 5dg)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 54 caps, 50 points (5t, 5c, 5pg)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby) – 75 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) 75 caps, 40 points (8t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain – Racing 92) – 82 caps, 50 points (10t)
5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat, Japan) – 72 caps, 15 points (3t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 118 caps, 30 points (6t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 68 caps, 5 points (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 67 caps, 65 points (13t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (Ulster) – 82 caps, 10 points (2t)
Replacements
16 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) – 12 caps, 10 pts (2t)
17 – Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 27 caps, 0 pts
18 – Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92) – 66 caps, 5 pts (1t)
19 – Jean Kleyn (Munster) – 6 caps, 0 pts (Ireland 5 caps)
20 – RG Snyman (Munster) – 33 caps, 10 points (2t)
21 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 39 caps, 35 pts (7t)
22 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 26 caps, 5 pts (1t)
23 – Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 92 caps, 75 pts (15t)

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