The Springbok selectors have placed their trust in the talented Manie Libbok to wear the number ten jersey against France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup tournament.
The Humansdorp native and Cobus Reinach form the starting team’s half-back pair, while Handré Pollard and Faf de Klerk together with Willie le Roux are the back players on the Bok substitutes’ bench.
Libbok and Reinach can therefore initially fight the fiery French with a touch of their own flair, after which the experienced Pollard and De Klerk – who served in the 2019 final against England – will later provide the necessary stability.
Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi form the loose trio, while Franco Mostert will line up with Eben Etzebeth.
The front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe must provide front-foot momentum in the scrum so that the Bok backline can play.
In addition to Libbok’s attacking skills, the South Africans can also count on Damian Willemse, Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse to show off their pipe skills.
In a nutshell, this is an experienced match group with 15 players who served in the 2019 finals in Japan.
“We have been working with most of the players since 2018 and we have built a team that can successfully defend our title,” said Jacques Nienaber.
According to the Springbok coach, the Boks are good enough not to back down for the Roosters in front of their enthusiastic home crowd.
“It promises to be a huge battle; not only for the players, but also for the fans and we are very excited. We worked very hard in the run-up to the tournament and now a place in the semi-final beckons – we are going to give our best.”
Nienaber also underlined the importance of discipline in a play-off game. The Bokke’s chances of winning in Marseille last year were precisely undermined by Du Toit’s red card.
“The intensity levels will now be higher than last year and we would very much like to maintain our good disciplinary record in the tournament.”
The match starts at 21:00 on Sunday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Springboks: Damian Willemse (full back), Kurt-Lee Arendse (right wing), Jesse Kriel (outside centre), Damian de Allende (inside centre), Cheslin Kolbe (left wing), Manie Libbok (fly-half), Cobus Reinach (scrum-half), Duane Vermeulen (eighth man) , Pieter-Steph du Toit (flank), Siya Kolisi (flank and captain), Franco Mostert (lock), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Frans Malherbe (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) and Steven Kitshoff (prop). Substitutes: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Handré Pollard and Willie le Roux.