Boks’ unchanged for semi-final against New Zealand
Heyneke Meyer sticks with the same starting XV that beat Wales in quarter-final
South Africa take on All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday: 4 pm kick off
Only change to the Boks’ Matchday 23 sees Victor Matfield named as a replacement
The Springboks have named an unchanged starting XV for their Rugby World Cup semi-final against new Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
Heyneke Meyer, South Africa head coach, has kept faith with the team that overcame Wales 23-19 in the quarter-finals
The only change to the matchday squad sees 38-year-old, 125 cap veteran Victor Matfield named as a replacement after overcoming a hamstring injury with Pieter-Steph du Toit dropping out.
“It’s great to be able to give another run to the team that got us through to the semi-finals in the biggest Test of the year,” admitted Meyer.
“Victor’s inclusion on the bench gives us even more experience there and, as we saw last weekend against Wales, when the replacements did very well towards the end of the match, this will be crucial. His influence will also be pivotal against a strong New Zealand line-out.”
The South Africans recovered from a shock loss to Japan to top their pool before a late try from Fourie du Preez handed them the narrow win against the Welsh in the final eight.
However, although Meyer admitted he was pleased with the display against Wales but insisted they will have to take their game to a new level when they face the All Blacks.
“We have the utmost respect for their players and coaching staff and although there is an intense rivalry we actually get along very well away from the field.
“But we have to believe we can beat them otherwise we’ll be wasting our time on Saturday. We will have to be at our ultimate best, and although we played some excellent rugby against Wales, there are always things to improve on.
“Tests against New Zealand are very intense and the margins over the last couple of years have been small. We’re not expecting anything different this weekend and the self-belief is there.
“Everyone in our group is massively excited about Saturday’s challenge. For many players, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, and we want to go out there and make it count in front of what will be a magnificent crowd at a superb stadium.”
15. Willie le Roux, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Damian De Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Handré Pollard, 9. Fourie du Preez (captain), 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Schalk Burger, 6. Francois Louw, 5. Lood de Jager, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16. Adriaan Strauss, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Jannie du Plessis, 19. Victor Matfield, 20. Willem Alberts, 21. Ruan Pienaar, 22. Pat Lambie, 23. Jan Serfontein.