South Africa goes with same 23 for Rugby World Cup semifinal against England – The San Diego Union-Tribune

South Africa named an unchanged 23 on Thursday for the Rugby World Cup semifinal against England, a rematch of the title game in Japan four years ago.

The defending champion Springboks kept Cobus Reinach at scrumhalf and Manie Libbok at flyhalf, with Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard set to come off the bench, as they did last weekend in the 29-28 quarterfinal win over host France.

Veteran No. 8 Duane Vermeulen starts again at the back of the scrum at Stade de France on Saturday. Six players in South Africa’s 23, replacement Willie le Roux, center Damian de Allende, Pollard and forwards Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth and Vermeulen played in World Cup semifinals in 2015 and 2019.

“When we had our selection meeting, there were lots of discussions but we felt everybody who played last Sunday (against France) had a proper performance so we decided to go for continuity,” Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber said. “From a performance point of view and from a medical point of view, we saw no reason to change.”

The Springboks are aiming to be the second team to successfully defend the Rugby World Cup after New Zealand went back-to-back in 2011 and 2015. New Zealand faces Argentina in the other semifinal on Friday.

South Africa’s thrilling win over the French moved it to No. 1 in the world rankings. England is No. 5, making the Springboks clear favorites, although the English have countered doubts over their form and ability to be the only unbeaten team left at the World Cup despite a poor run coming into the tournament.

“We are not silly,” South Africa captain Siya Kolisi said. “Our motivation doesn’t come from without, it comes from within. They will have their motives and so will we.”

South Africa has won four of the five meetings with England at the Rugby World Cup, including in the finals in 2007 and 2019. England beat the Springboks on the way to its only World Cup title in 2003.


South Africa: Damian Willemse, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Manie Libbok, Cobus Reinach; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Willie le Roux.


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Julieta Elena

Tiene más de 5 años de experiencia en la redacción de noticias deportivas en línea, incluyendo más de cuatro años como periodista digital especializado en fútbol. Proporciona contenido principalmente relacionado con el fútbol, como avances de partidos y noticias diarias. Forma parte de desde abril de 2023.

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