South Africa name unchanged side for semi-final against England

Handre Pollard has been named on the bench for South Africa
Handre Pollard has been named on the bench for South Africa
©Photo by Justin Setterfield - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

South Africa have named an unchanged side for the Rugby World Cup semi-final against England to be played on Saturday.

The starting XV contains eight players from the side that defeated England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final while Manie Libbok retains his place at fly-half with Handre Pollard continuing to provide cover from the bench.

This was also only the second occasion South Africa have retained the same matchday squad under Jacques Nienaber in 64 matches as they look to reach the World Cup final for the second successive time.

“They come off five victories in a row and they are high on confidence,” said Nienaber.

“They have a quality pack and world-class backs who can create magic on the field, and those who are writing them off are making a major mistake.

“Like us, they are one game away from a World Cup final and we’ve seen through the history of the tournament that England raise their game for these matches. If we lose, we have to play the third-place playoff – which no team wants to do.

“We are closely matched in terms of average player age and caps, both teams are used to playing on the biggest stage. This is do-or-die if either of wants to the lift the trophy next week, so neither side will give an inch.”

South Africa XV: 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