South Africa Sticks with Winning Formula for Rugby World Cup Semi-Final Clash Against England

South Africa Sticks with Winning Formula for Rugby World Cup Semi-Final Clash Against England

South Africa’s head coach, Jacques Nienaber, has decided to maintain an unchanged match-day 23 for the Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final clash against England at Stade de France on Saturday, 21 October. The team mirrors the lineup that secured victory against France in the quarter-finals. Key players such as Cobus Reinach and Duane Vermeulen retain their positions at scrum-half and number eight, respectively.

The Starting XV includes:

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

The Replacements are:

  1. Deon Fourie
  2. Ox Nche
  3. Vincent Koch
  4. RG Snyman
  5. Kwagga Smith
  6. Faf de Klerk
  7. Handre Pollard
  8. Willie Le Roux

Noteworthy facts about the team and players:

  • Six players from this match-day team have previously featured in South Africa’s last two Rugby World Cup semi-finals in 2015 and 2019.
  • The team has opted for a 5-3 split between forwards and backs on the bench for the third time since 2021 against England, deviating from the 6-2 split chosen for the RWC 2019 final.
  • Thirteen players from this squad were part of the RWC 2019 final, with eight of them being named to start both matches.
  • Eben Etzebeth has notably improved his try-scoring record and has been a defensive force at RWC 2023, registering the most dominant tackles among the Springboks.
  • Kurt-Lee Arendse has showcased impressive scoring prowess, having scored 13 tries in 13 tests for South Africa since his debut.
  • Siya Kolisi is set to equal John Smit for the most games as South Africa captain at the Rugby World Cup during his 11th test in charge.
  • Manie Libbok has exhibited proficiency in high kicks during RWC 2023, with a successful retention rate of 30%. His previous encounter against England saw him playing for 20 minutes in their 27-13 victory at Twickenham last year.
  • Handre Pollard, the replacement fly-half for this match, boasts a remarkable track record, having scored 22 points in the RWC 2019 final against England and maintaining a 100% goal-kicking accuracy at RWC 2023.
Mark Z

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