- Title: Kolisi to lead Springboks at the Rugby World Cup
- Date: 26th August 2019
- Summary: SPRINGBOKS FLYHALFS, ELTON JANTJIES (LEFT), AND, HANDRE POLLARD (RIGHT), ON STAGE SPRINGBOKS PROP, TENDAI MTAWARIRA, WALKING ON STAGE TO JOIN THE TEAM SPRINGBOKS PROP, TREVOR NYAKANE SPRINGBOKS LOCK, LOOD DE JAGER
- Embargoed: 9th September 2019 18:54
- Keywords: Springboks Rugby World Cup Rassie Erasmus Siya Kolisi
- Location: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- City: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA002ATUUZB3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: South Africa captain Siya Kolisi won his fitness battle to lead his country at the Rugby World Cup in Japan on Monday (August 26), as coach Rassie Erasmus named the back-row forward in his 31-man squad.
Kolisi had been a doubt since injuring his knee in May, missing the Springboks' triumphant Rugby Championship campaign. However, he returned to play 53 minutes in their last test, a 24-18 win over Argentina in Pretoria on August 17.
The Boks are among a small handful of teams with a realistic chance of being crowned world champions on Nov. 2 and Kolisi, their first ever black test captain, is seen as an important figure on and off the pitch.
His presence is a major boost to Erasmus, who provided no big surprises in his selection and said he was very happy with the composition of the squad.
Giant lock Eben Etzebeth made the cut despite an incident outside a bar over the weekend that forced South African Rugby to issue a statement in his support. He has denied any wrongdoing.
He is one of four second-rowers along with Lood de Jager, Franco Mostert and RG Snyman.
Pieter-Steph du Toit can also provide cover at lock but has been selected at loose forward, where the more mobile Kwagga Smith got the nod ahead of Rynhardt Elstadt.
There is vast experience at number eight with Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen.
Handre Pollard will orchestrate the backline from flyhalf, one of two out-and-out number tens along with Elton Jantjies.
The versatile Frans Steyn can also cover that position, and at fullback, but has been selected as an inside centre.
Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies and Cobus Reinach are the three scrumhalves, with three specialist wings in Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi and Cheslin Kolbe. Fullback Warrick Gelant can also play on the wing if needed.
As expected Aphiwe Dyantyi, pleading innocent after testing positive for an unspecified banned substance, was not selected.
The Boks will play a final warm-up match against Japan on September 6 in Kumagaya, before their World Cup opener against defending champions and bookmakers' favourites New Zealand in Yokohama on September 21.
The two-time World Cup winners will also play Italy, Namibia and Canada in Pool B.
Forwards (17): Schalk Brits, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen
Backs (14): Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Frans Steyn, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Cheslin Kolbe, Warrick Gelant, Willie le Roux
(Production: Siyabonga Sishi / Stefan Haskins)
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