Doc Rassie Erasmus chooses his sharpest tools for Ireland operation

Siya Kolisi returns as captain of the Springboks against Ireland this weekend. | EPA

Siya Kolisi returns as captain of the Springboks against Ireland this weekend. | EPA

Published Jul 2, 2024


Rugby Reporter

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus’ intentions were made crystal clear on Tuesday after he selected his most powerful and experienced matchday 23 available to face Ireland this coming week.

There was no acquiescing to any notions of experimentation or blooding new player, save for the introduction of Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu on the bench, who will play a utility role in 6-2 split. Otherwise, in every other position, Erasmus will rely on his World Cup winners to front up against the No 2 ranked team in world rugby.

That includes Siya Kolisi, who as promised, will captain the team on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld (kick-off 5.05pm).

“This is the team we believe will give us the impetus we need against Ireland, who are the second highest ranked team in the world,” said Erasmus via statement.

“We are blessed to have a lot of depth in our squad, and we are in a fortunate position to have several Rugby World Cup-winners in our ranks who know what it takes to perform at the highest level and play against the best teams in the world.

“The fact that most of these guys have played together is a bonus for us, and most of them have faced Ireland before so they are well aware of the challenge that lies ahead, especially since we haven’t beaten them since 2016.”

Springbok starting XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Handré 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, 21 Marco van Staden, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu