Most experienced team in Springbok history to face IrelandTue, 09 Jul 2024 11:35:37 GMT

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has named the most experienced team in Springbok history for the second and final Test against Ireland in Durban on Saturday.  Flanker Siya Kolisi will lead a starting line-up with a total of 990 caps — three more than the team which began the 2023 Rugby World Cup final triumph over New Zealand in Paris.”While it may be an impressive statistic, it will by no means guarantee us victory. We know we must go out there and play good rugby for the full 80 minutes,” said Erasmus.”We don’t really look at such things (caps) when we select the team, but this shows how blessed we are with the depth in the squad and the quality of the players we have.”The matchday 23 is unchanged from that which produced a 27-20 victory for the world champions over Ireland last Saturday in Pretoria, where the sides scored three tries each.It was a predictable decision by Erasmus as the Springboks snapped a three-match losing streak against the Irish from 2017.Erasmus says defeating the 2024 Six Nations champions a second time within eight days will be extremely difficult, even with the backing of most in a sell-out 52,000 crowd.”It is always tough facing Ireland. They are a quality team, they are ranked second in the world,” said the coach.”As we saw last week, they never stop fighting, so we know the magnitude of the challenge that awaits us this weekend.”We have no doubt they will come out even stronger this weekend, but we also identified the areas of the game that we need to improve on.- ‘Proud team’ -“It is vital for us to build on our performance in our quest to win both matches and the series.”We have been on the wrong side of the scoreboard on a few occasions too and we remember how it felt to suffer a defeat against them in the World Cup pool stages last year.”No doubt, they are feeling the same this week. They are a proud team and nation and they will be disappointed that they were unable to capitalise on a few opportunities last week.”So they will work hard this week to fix their mistakes and ensure that they convert their chances into points.”This is going to be another physically gruelling match and, just like us, they will be determined to correct the wrongs of last week.”While Erasmus could name the same matchday 23, Ireland counterpart Andy Farrell has already lost two of his starters in Pretoria — scrum-half Craig Casey and hooker Dan Sheehan — to injuries.They are likely to be replaced by veteran Conor Murray, whose superb box kicking has often troubled the Springboks in the past, and Ronan Kelleher.Adding to the concerns of Farrell, centres Robbie Henshaw (head) and Bundee Aki (shoulder), winger James Lowe (thigh) and full-back Jamie Osborne (groin) face fitness tests.This will be only the second time the countries have met in Durban with South Africa winning 12-10 there 43 years ago.Team (15-1)Willie le Roux; Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Kurt-Lee Arendse; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Kwagga Smith, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox NcheReplacements: Malcolm Marx, Gerhard Steenekamp, Vincent Koch, Salmaan Moerat, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Grant Williams, Sacha Feinberg-MngomezuluCoach: Rassie Erasmus (RSA)