South Africa name experienced side for quarter-final against France

Kurt-Lee Arendse starts at right wing for South Africa
Kurt-Lee Arendse starts at right wing for South Africa
©Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has named an experienced matchday squad for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final game against France.

The matchday squad contains 19 players from the 2019 World Cup winning squad with only Kurt-Lee Arendse and Manie Libbok from the starting line up and Deon Fourie and Ox Nche on the bench not part of the title clinching side.

Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff and Bongi Mbonambi pack in the front row while Franco Mostert and Eben Etzebeth form a strong second row combination.

Skipper Siya Kolisi will lead the side at blindside and is one of the 12 changes made from their win over Tonga while Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen form the remainder of the back row. Libbok will take the kicking responsibility with Handre Pollard providing cover from the bench while Cobus Reinach retains his place at scrum-half.

Damian Willemse starts at fullback with Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse being the preferred wings while Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende form exciting midfield combination.

Nienaber has also opted for 5-3 combination on the bench with Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman and Kwagga Smith being the forwards while the backs comprises of Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux and Pollard.

“We’ve been working with most of these players since 2018 and we’ve been building a squad capable of defending our title,” said Nienaber.

“We believe this group will offer us the impetus we need against a quality French side that will be playing in front of a passionate home crowd.

“Most of these players have Rugby World Cup experience and several of them were involved in the 2019 final, so they know what it takes to perform in big moments.

“Twenty of these players also featured in the matchday squad that faced France in Marseille a year ago, which was a good dress rehearsal for what we can expect from France and their supporters.”

South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Reserves: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux