Boks to start Libbok and Reinach against France

Manie Libbok. PHOTO: Michael Steele/World Rugby via Getty Images

“Most of these players have Rugby World Cup experience and several of them were involved in the 2019 final, so they know what it takes to perform in big moments.”

The Springboks have named a strong and experienced team for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against France in Paris.

While the team is strong, there are some interesting selections, with the most notable and interesting being the halfback combination, with Manie Libbok starting at flyhalf, while Cobus Reinach will start at scrumhalf.

There is no doubt about the quality of both players, but Libbok’s kicking has been a worry, and it is interesting that the more experienced Handré Pollard as well as Faf de Klerk will play from the bench.

This means the world champions will go into the crucial Test against the French without a reliable kicker from the tee.

Damian Willemse will start at fullback, with Kurt-Lee Arendse and Cheslin Kolbe, playing on the wing.

Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende will patrol the midfield at centre, while Lukhanyo Am has been overlooked for selection.

Upfront, the seasoned Duane Vermeulen, moves back to 8th-man, with Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi playing on the side of the scrum.

Franco Mostert and Eben Etzebeth will start in the second-row, while Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi and Steven Kitshoff will play in the front-row.

The coach Jacques Nienaber and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus have opted to play a five-three split on the bench with the three backline players being Pollard, De Klerk and Willie le Roux.

Nienaber said it’s do-or-die for the Springboks and they have to be accurate in their execution.

“It’s going to be a massive clash for the players and supporters and we’re really excited about the prospect,” said Nienaber.

“We’ve been working toward this World Cup since 2018 and we can now book a place in the semi-final, so we have to go out there and give everything.

“It’s do-or-die in the tournament, so we have to be accurate in executing our game plan and we have to capitalise on our opportunities because the margins will be small.”

“We know the match is going to be as intense as last year, if not more intense. We had a red card in that match but we were still in with a chance to win it with three or four minutes to go, so discipline will again be important and we’ll have to maintain our good disciplinary record.”

Sunday’s quarter-final between France and the Springboks at Stade de France kicks off at 21:00.

France – TBA

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

Replacements – 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux.

Morgan Piek