Pollard and De Klerk to start final - South Africa name team to play New Zealand

Pollard and De Klerk to start final - South Africa name team to play New Zealand

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has announced his squad to face New Zealand at Stade de France on Saturday, 28 October.

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has named his matchday 23 to face New Zealand in the World Cup final at Stade de France on Saturday. Half-backs Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard start in the only two changes to the starting line-up that faced England in the semi-finals. They replace Cobus Reinach and Manie Libbok, who drop out of the 23 altogether as South Africa revert to the 7-1 split of forwards and backs among the replacements that they used in the Pool B match against Ireland on 23 September.

1 Steven Kitshoff
2 Mbongeni Mbonambi
3 Frans Malherbe
4 Eben Etzebeth
5 Franco Mostert
6 Siya Kolisi (c)
7 Pieter-Steph Du Toit
8 Duane Vermeulen
9 Faf de Klerk
10 Handre Pollard
11 Cheslin Kolbe
12 Damian de Allende
13 Jesse Kriel
14 Kurt-Lee Arendse
15 Damian Willemse

16 Deon Fourie
17 Ox Nche
18 Trevor Nyakane
19 Jean Kleyn
20 RG Snyman
21 Kwagga Smith
22 Jasper Wiese
23 Willie Le Roux

•    Head coach Jacques Nienaber has made five changes to his match-day squad from their one-point semi-final victory against England, with two in the starting XV and three on the bench.
•    Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard are reunited at half-back. This will be the 25th time they have started alongside each other, and the eighth against the All Blacks. 
•    Nienaber has named a 7-1 split on the bench, with Jean Kleyn, Jasper Wiese and Trevor Nyakane, who replaces Vincent Koch, coming in.
•    He has named 10 players in the starting XV who also started in the 2019 World Cup final – Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Damian de Allende and Cheslin Kolbe. Steven Kitshoff and Franco Mostert, who were on the bench in 2019, start this time; Willie Le Roux, who started, is the only back on the bench this time. RG Snyman is again on the bench.
•    These 14 players will be looking to join Os du Randt (1995 and 2007) and Frans Steyn (2007 and 2019) as the only Springboks to have won two Rugby World Cup crowns. 
•    The starting XV has a total of 987 caps. The back three of Cheslin Kolbe (30 caps), Kurt-Lee Arendse (14) and Damian Willemse (38) are the only players in the starting XV with fewer than 50 caps. 
•    Duane Vermeulen was named Player of the Match in the 2019 final.  
•    Kurt-Lee Arendse has scored 13 tries in 14 tests for the Springboks since making his debut in June 2022, including one in each of his two tests against the All Blacks.   
•    Handre Pollard has scored the third-most points of any player in test history against the All Blacks (149). Only Australia’s Matt Burke (176) and Argentina’s Nicolás Sánchez (151) have scored more against New Zealand.
•    He has kicked his past 14 consecutive goal attempts at Stade de France dating back to 2017. His last miss at this venue came against France in 2017. 

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