South Africa’s coach Rassie retains historic 23-man Squad for crucial test against Ireland


Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has opted for consistency, naming the same 23-man squad for their second Test against Ireland in the Castle Lager Incoming Series.

This decision follows their narrow 27-20 victory in Pretoria and underlines Erasmus’s belief in the squad’s ability to deliver against the world’s second-ranked team. The rematch will take place at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban on Saturday, promising another intense battle.

Erasmus’s unchanged starting XV has set a new record for the most experienced Springbok lineup in history, with a combined total of 990 Test caps.

This surpasses the previous record of 987 caps set in the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand last year, showcasing the incredible depth and experience within the current squad.

Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel will make history as they become South Africa’s most-capped center pairing, combining for their 30th Test appearance together. This experienced duo is expected to play a crucial role in stabilizing the midfield against a formidable Irish defense.

Erasmus’s selection includes key players such as captain Siya Kolisi, flyhalf Handré Pollard, and winger Cheslin Kolbe, all of whom bring a wealth of experience and skill to the field.

With 20 players in the matchday squad having Rugby World Cup experience, Erasmus is hoping for a more refined performance in Durban.

“It’s always tough facing Ireland,” Erasmus said. “They are a quality team, ranked second in the world, and as we saw last week, they never stop fighting.

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

Erasmus acknowledges the challenge ahead, emphasizing that experience alone won’t secure victory. “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.”

The Springboks are prepared for another physically demanding match, with both teams looking to rectify mistakes from the previous game.

“They are a proud team and nation, and they’ll be disappointed that they were unable to capitalize on a few opportunities last week close to our tryline. They will work hard this week to fix their mistakes and ensure that they convert their chances into points.”

Adding to the anticipation, Erasmus has released several players from the 39-man squad to participate in Carling Currie Cup matches this weekend, ensuring the team remains fresh and competitive. These players will rejoin the squad on Sunday.

The Springbok team for the second Test against Ireland is as follows:

Starting XV:

Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 29 caps, 0 pts

Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 70 caps, 70 points (14t)

Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 71 caps, 5 points (1t)

Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 121 caps, 30 points (6t)

Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 75 caps, 15 points (3t)

Siya Kolisi (captain, Racing 92) – 84 caps, 50 points (10t)

Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 79 caps, 40 points (8t)

Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 42 caps, 35 pts (7t)

Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) – 57 caps, 50 points (5t, 5c, 5pg)

Handré Pollard (Leicester Tigers) – 70 caps, 708 points (7t, 98c, 154p, 5dg)

Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 16 caps, 70 points (14t)

Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 80 caps, 55 points (11t)

Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 70 caps, 80 points (16t)

Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) – 32 caps, 96 points (15t, 3c, 5p)

Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls) – 94 caps, 75 pts (15t)


16. Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 66 caps, 85 points (17t)

17. Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls) – 2 caps, 0 points

18. Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 51 caps, 0 points

19. Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers) – 5 caps, 0 points

20. RG Snyman (Leinster) – 35 caps, 10 points (2t)

21. Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 19 caps, 0 pts

22. Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks) – 10 caps, 10 points (2t)

23. Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers) – 2 caps, 7 points (2c, 1p)

The Springboks have a strong record against Ireland, with 19 wins, 9 losses, and 1 draw from 29 matches, averaging a score of 19-15. This historical context adds an extra layer of anticipation to Saturday’s match as both teams strive to assert their dominance.

As the Springboks prepare for this crucial encounter, the focus will be on leveraging their vast experience and executing their game plan with precision. The players’ familiarity with high-pressure situations, combined with their skill and physicality, will be key to overcoming a determined Irish side.

Saturday’s match promises to be a thrilling display of top-class rugby, with both teams eager to prove their mettle. For Erasmus and his seasoned squad, the objective is clear: to deliver a performance that secures a series win and reinforces their status as one of the world’s premier rugby nations.

Source: SA RUGBY

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