Rassie Erasmus picks most capped Springboks side in history for second Ireland Test

Springbok centres Damian De Allende and Jesse Kriel, pictured together at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, will combine for a record 30th time as pairing. Picture: Joe Toth / BPI / DPPI via AFP

Springbok centres Damian De Allende and Jesse Kriel, pictured together at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, will combine for a record 30th time as pairing. Picture: Joe Toth / BPI / DPPI via AFP

Published Jul 9, 2024


Coach Rassie Erasmus has named the most experienced Springboks team in South African rugby history for the second Test against Ireland at Kings Park Stadium on Saturday.

Erasmus named an unchanged Springboks line-up following their 27-20 win in the first Test at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria last Saturday. The run-on team will boast a combined 990 Test caps among them, surpassing the total of 987 caps amassed by the run-on team in the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand in France last year.

In the centres, Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel will become the most-capped centre pairing in South African history when they combine in the midfield for the 30th time in Tests.

Erasmus hoped for a more clinical performance from his charges this week, especially from players such as Handre Pollard, who looked a bit rusty and missed a few kicks at goal.

“It’s always tough facing Ireland,” said Erasmus. “They are a quality team, they are ranked second in the world, and as we saw last week, they never stop fighting, so we know the magnitude of the challenge that awaits us this weekend.

“We have no doubt they’ll come out even stronger this week, but we also identified the areas of the game that we need to improve on, and it’s vital for us to build on our performance in our quest to win both matches.”

Of this being the most experienced starting lineup in Springbok history, Erasmus said: “We don’t really look at such things when we select the team, but this shows how blessed we are with the depth in the squad and the quality of the players we have.

“While it may be an impressive statistic, it will by no means guarantee us a victory. We know we must go out there and play good rugby for the full 80 minutes to get the desired result.”

Erasmus was pleased with the performances by the younger players in the squad last week and he expected them to feel even more settled on the field this week.

Gerhard Steenekamp (prop), Salmaan Moerat (lock), and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (utility back) all played vital roles off the bench in the Springboks’ win over Ireland.

“They all made a strong impact off the bench, and they have immense potential as individuals,” said Erasmus. “They’ll definitely become more confident and settled the more they play.

“It was really impressive to see them step up to the challenge of facing a top side such as Ireland, and similarly to the rest of the team, they know this weekend will be an even bigger test, but they’ll be up for the challenge.”

Despite criticism from outside of the country, the Springboks will continue to operate with a 6-2 bench split in favour of the forwards.

The “Bomb Squad” made their mark late in the game against the Irish when they won a penalty try with an almighty scrum on the Irish goal line.

“We considered a few options for the first Test – a five-three split, six-two split, and seven-one split, and we felt that this combination is the best to counter the challenge Ireland poses.

“The replacements made a good impact when they took the field by injecting energy into the game, and we are looking for much of the same from them this week.”

Erasmus also announced that a handful of players would be released from the 39-man squad to appear in the Currie Cup matches this weekend. The players who will be released will be confirmed on Wednesday and will rejoin the squad on Sunday.

Springboks for Ireland:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Gerhard, Steenekamp, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.