Rassie Erasmus has revealed his World Cup hand by clarifying exactly what seems to be his first first-choice team for the Springboks’ closing World Cup warm-up against Japan.
The team shows one change in the starting XV that drew 16-16 with the All Blacks in Wellington an outcome that paved the way for the initial Rugby Championship title in last decade of South Africa, in July.
Even the Springboks carry on their old rivals in Yokohama in their tournament opener on September 21, along with the side Erasmus termed for Friday’s warm-up looks likely to be one to take the field in two weeks’ time since the Boks proceed in hunt of a third World Cup title.
The solitary change to that Wellington team sees skipper Siya Kolisi favored to Kwagga Smith at flank. Kolisi was injured for the Rugby Championship effort of South Africa but left his return in their World Cup warm-up from Argentina in Pretoria a month.
Kolisi is combined at the back row Pieter-Steph du Toit, making his 50th Test appearance and by Duane Vermeulen. Du Toit’s first start at the Green and Gold came from Japan in the 2015 World Cup, when the Springboks suffered the greatest shock in the championship’s history at a 34-32 loss in Brighton.
Erasmus said the side also represents how dire the Boks are to prevent another embarrassing defeat while Erasmus may be committing his first-choice group a run-out before they take on the the All Blacks.
“it is my hope that this selection will send a powerful message that we’ve got the utmost respect for Japan,” said Erasmus.
“Maybe we made the mistake of complacency against them previously but we’ve been hammering the message that we shouldn’t ever do this again against Japan.
“They’re a smart team of great athletes, playing in the home, having won a title in the past month and now desperate to show something. This Test is as big a challenge as any we have had this year.
“They made a movie about the last time they played with us it’s our job to be certain that there’s no sequel.”
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 1 Steven Kitshoff, 2 Malcolm Marx, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies 23 Jesse Kriel.