Springboks ring the changes in four-day turnaround

The Springboks have made 13 changes to their starting XV for Tuesday’s match against Canada in Kobe to manage the four-day turnaround between their final two Rugby World Cup pool matches.

Captain Siya Kolisi and centre Damian de Allende reappear for a second successive start while five of the replacements from the victory over Italy (49-3) on Friday are promoted to the starting line-up. They are Frans Steyn (centre), Francois Louw (looseforward), Franco Mostert and RG Snyman (both locks) and Vincent Koch (prop).

Nine of the team that defeated Namibia 57-3 in City of Toyota in the preceding match regain a starting place while Damian Willemse – who arrived as an injury replacement from the UK on Thursday – goes straight into the starting line-up at fullback.

There are also first starts at the Rugby World Cup for Thomas du Toit (prop) and Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf).

A win with a bonus point would almost certainly secure a place in the quarterfinals for the Springboks.

“A four-day turnaround between Tests is a challenge but we had planned for it and will be well prepared,” said Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby.

“This match is just as important as the three that we have already played – it has the same number of log points available and the same impact on our chances of qualifying and we have to now complete the job.

“There are a number of new combinations in our team, but we have been together for several weeks now and everyone understands our gameplan and strategies. The nice thing is that at the end of the match every member of the squad will have started a Rugby World Cup match.

“But the first thing we have to focus on is winning the match and securing a place in the quarter-finals.”

There are a number of positional changes in the backline, with Sbu Nkosi switching to the left wing, Warrick Gelant starting on the right flank and De Allende being given a start at outside centre.

The versatile Du Toit starts at loosehead prop, while Louw is at No 8 with Schalk Brits returning to his more usual No 2 jersey after appearing at the back of the scrum against Namibia.

A powerful looking bench includes five of the starting XV from the victory over Italy in Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Handre Pollard and Willie le Roux.

Rested completely from the squad that played Italy are Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Lukhanyo Am (centre) and Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi (wings) – who had featured in all four matches in Japan – as well as Lood de Jager, Duane Vermeulen and Faf de Klerk.

“Our preparations for the match have been shortened by the turnaround time but we are giving Canada the same attention we applied in the three previous matches,” said Erasmus.

The match kicks off at 12h15 (SA time) and is available on SuperSport channel 201 or SABC radio.

The Springbok team to play Canada in Kobe on Tuesday is:

  1. Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) 5 caps – 0 points
  2. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls), 8 caps – 10 (2t)
  3. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), 43 – 20 (4t)
  4. Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France), 63 – 136 (10t, 7c, 21p, 3d)
  5. Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks) 9 – 35 (7t), 9 – 35 (7t)
  6. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), 36 – 265 (2t, 54c, 49p)
  7. Cobus Reinach (Northampton, England), 13 – 15 (3t)
  8. Francois Louw (Bath, England), 72 – 50 (10t)
  9. Kwagga Smith (Emirates Lions), 5 – 0
  10. Siya Kolisi (captain, DHL Stormers), 46 – 30 (6t)
  11. Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), 35 – 5 (1t)
  12. RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), 19 – 5 (1t)
  13. Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), 17 – 0
  14. Schalk Brits (Vodacom Bulls), 14 – 10 (2t)
  15. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), 11 – 0


  1. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 29 – 25 (5t)
  2. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), 43 – 5 (1t)
  3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), 34 – 0
  4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), 82 – 15 (3t)
  5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 52 – 25 (5t)
  6. Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), 7 – 20 (4t)
  7. Handre Pollard (Vodacom Bulls) 44 – 410 (6t, 70c 76p, 4d)
  8. Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), 58 – 60 (12t)

Facts and Stats 

Canada have been playing international rugby since 1932 and have competed in every Rugby World Cup tournament since 1987.

The Springboks’ first Test match against Canada, also known as the Canucks, was during the Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995. The Springboks won the match at the Boet Erasmus Stadium in Port Elizabeth 20-0.

Five years later, the second Test between the two teams took place at Waverley Park in East London when the Springboks were again the victors, the score 51-18.

The Test match on Tuesday will feature only one Springbok who played in the Test in East London, but this time as the director of rugby of SA Rugby, Rassie Erasmus.

The complete South African record against Canada is as follows:

Played 2, Won 2, Points for 71, Points against 10, Tries for 10, Tries against 2, Win % 100%

Individual match records against Canada are:

  • Most points in a Test match: 11 (4c, 1p) by Braam van Straaten on 10 June 2000 in East London.
  • Most tries in a Test match: 2 each by Adriaan Richter on 3 June 1995 in Port Elizabeth and both of Breyton Paulse and Robbie Fleck on 10 June, 2000 in East London.
  • Most conversions in a Test match: 4 by Braam van Straaten on 10 June, 2000 in East London.


  • The total test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 396.
  • There are 177 caps in the backline with 219 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 349 caps.
  • The average caps per player in the backline is 25, the forwards 27 while the players on the bench average 44.
  • The average age of the starting fifteen is 27.

Record watch

  • Handré Pollard is the Springbok record holder for most penalty goals (26) in RWC tournaments.
  • He is now also the new record holder for a Springbok with most points (115) in RWC tournaments.
  • He surpassed the record of Percy Montgomery (111) in the Test against Italy on Friday.

Match officials

  • The referee is Luke Pearce of England. This will be his 25th Test match as a referee. He has officiated in only two of those Test matches of which one match was won and one lost.
  • The Assistant referees are Angus Gardner of Australia and Andrew Brace of Ireland while Rowan Kitt from England, will be the TMO.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications