RWC23: South Africa name team for Scotland clash

Scrum-half Faf de Klerk to celebrate his 50th cap

Siya Kolisi will lead South Africa in Sunday evening's World Cup opening weekend clash against Scotland in Marseilles. Image: © Craig Watson -
Siya Kolisi will lead South Africa in Sunday evening's World Cup opening weekend clash against Scotland in Marseilles. Image: © Craig Watson -

SOUTH AFRICA have delivered a demonstration of their self-belief ahead of opening their World Cup campaign against Scotland on Sunday night by bringing their team announcement forward by two days. The selection was scheduled to be announced on Friday morning but ended up being revealed on Wednesday evening at 6pm UK time, suggesting that the world champions do not feel the need to keep their opponents guessing until the last minute.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber has handed scrum-half Faf de Klerk his 50th cap in a settled Springbok side which contains 11 players who started in the record win over New Zealand in their final warm-up match two weekends ago.

The only change in the pack is at No 8, where Jasper Wiese takes over from Duane Vermeulen, who moves to the bench, which has the familiar six-two split between forwards and backs. The changes in the backline see Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel unite in midfield, and Cheslin Kolbe return on the left wing in place of Makazole Mapimpi.

Iain Morrison’s essential RWC23 pool guide – Pool A: The dull one; qualification is a shoo-in

Iain Morrison’s essential RWC23 pool guide – Pool B: The pool of World Rugby gross incompetence; 1st, 2nd and 5th ranked teams all present

Iain Morrison’s essential RWC23 pool guide – Pool C: The pool of maths, 3 into 2 does not go

Iain Morrison’s essential RWC23 pool guide – Pool D: Even England could emerge from this stink pool

Two players, utility back Canan Moodie and lock Jean Kleyn, were not considered for selection due to hamstring and knee niggles respectively.

“We are pleased with the squad depth we have built in the last few months, and we believe this group of players strikes the right balance to achieve the result we need against Scotland,” said Nienaber.

“We are very excited about this occasion. We’ve been building for this World Cup for the last four years and we are thrilled to get our campaign started.

“We’ve been working hard in the last few weeks to make sure we are as prepared as possible going into this match and we are fully aware of the challenge that awaits us.”

“Earning 50 Test caps is a massive achievement and to mark that feat in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup makes it very special,” he added. “Faf has been a key member of our team for a few years, so we are delighted for him. Needless to say, we’re all focused on making sure it’s a memorable occasion for him and the rest of us.”


South Africa (versus Scotland on Sunday @ Stade de Marseill, kick-off 4.45pm): D Willemse; K Arendse, J Kriel, D de Allende, C Kolbe; M Libbok. F de Klerk; S Kitshoff, M Marx, F Malherbe, E Etzbetn, F Mosert, S Kolisi ©, P du Toit, J Weise. Substitutes: B Mbonami, O Nche, T Nyakane, R Snyman, M van Staden, D Vermeulen, G Williams, W Le Roux.

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About David Barnes 3816 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Powerful aggressive, formidable forwards and that there is the skinny…… can we match them to the extent that our superior backs get front foot ball.
    We’ve proven we can do it in parts of games v top teams (Ireland France especially). We couldn’t really be in a better place and given a wee bit luck……..who knows 😀

  2. Looking forward to this, flying out tomorrow and got tickets for the game on Sunday.

    Its a very good SA team but Scotland are capable of doing a number on them. Here’s hoping Townsend makes the right selection.

    • Flying out tomorrow at 12pm. Cant wait for the match. – it will all depend on two things. 1) if SA shut down Russel with the rush Defense. 2) How we deal with the bomb squad at 50 mins.

      If we pitch up, have our kicking game on point AND the scrum survives we could have a chance…but there is a few elements there to get absolutely right that I think SA will take it by 10.

  3. I don’t really know much about them but I,m sure I,ll know them by the time Sunday is over 🤣🤣

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