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Springboks unchanged for All Blacks in Rugby World Cup


Rassie Erasmus has named an unchanged Springboks side for the World Cup opener against New Zealand on Saturday.

Saturday's clash is the pick of the group games and could be the final paring too, although Joe Schmidt will be hoping to derail one of these two sides in the quarter-finals.

The last time South Africa named an unchanged 23 was 51 matches ago, which was also against New Zealand. That was in the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-final. The Springboks had beaten Wales 23-19 in the quarter-final, only to lose at Twickenham by two points a week later.

Duane Vermeulen makes his 50th international appearance having made his debut in 2012 against Australia, his second cap was against Saturday's opponents.

Experience

The big number eight is part of an experienced panel. There are three other half-centurions (Willie le Roux, Pieter-Steph du Toit, and Eben Etzebeth) in the starting XV while there are a further three on the bench (Beast Mtawarira, Francois Louw and Frans Steyn).

The two teams meet for the fifth time at a Rugby World Cup, with the pair twice contesting the final. The pair have been closely matched this year with a win apiece and a draw from the three clashes. The aggregate score from the three games is 82-82.

The New Zealand team will be named later. The game kicks off at 10.45 Irish time.

The Springbok team to play New Zealand in Yokohama:

15. Willie le Roux (Wasps, England), 56 caps - 60 points (12 tries)

14. Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), 10 - 25 (5t)

13. Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), 9 - 5 (1t)

12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), 40 - 20 (4t)

11. Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), 8 - 40 (8t)

10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), 42 - 388 (6t, 65c, 73p, 3d)

9. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), 25 - 15 (3t)

8. Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls), 49 - 15 (3t)

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 50 - 20 (4t)

6. Siya Kolisi (captain, DHL Stormers), 43 - 25 (5t)

5. Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), 32 - 5 (1t)

4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), 79 - 15 (3t)

3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), 32 - 0

2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 27 - 20 (4t)

1. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), 40 - 5 (1t)

Replacements:

16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 30 - 20 (4t)

17. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 111 - 10 (2t)

18. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), 41 - 5 (1t)

19. RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), 16 - 0

20. Francois Louw (Bath, England), 69 - 45 (9t)

21. Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), 4 - 20 (4t)

22. Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France), 61 - 136 (10t, 7c, 21p, 3d)

23. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), 45 - 60 (12t)

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All Blacks New Zealand Rugby World Cup South Africa Springboks

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