The Springboks have named their first match day team since the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Jacques Nienaber has attempted to pull off the perfect balancing act. The side features 18 World Cup winners, 12 of which were part of the team that played in the final. There are three debutants in the team as well and various other returning squad members round out the side.
Possibly the Springboks biggest strength at the moment comes in the front row, where the likes of Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi and Trevor Nyakane are starting. On the bench they have more than capable substitutes in 3 World Cup winners, Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe.
Etzebeth and Mostert start at lock whilst RG Snyman and Lood de Jager are given further time to recover from their injuries. They are back up on the bench by rookie Marvin Orie. Whilst the loose trio features captain Siya Kolisi and World Player of the Year, Pieter-Steph du Toit with Kwagga Smith filling in for the injured Duane Vermeulen. Jasper Wiese is included on the bench and will make his test debut if he comes on to the field.
The half back pairing sees electric scrumhalf Cobus Reinach linking up with Montpellier team mate Handre Pollard to form the crucial 9-10 axis and their familiarity with one another will be key in getting the Springbok backline moving. The las time Reinach started, he set the world record for the fastest hattrick in rugby against Namibia at the World Cup. Pollard recently returned from a torn ACL and took light of the fact that he hasn't missed a single test, despite the long injury lay-off.
Frans Steyn is included to start at 12 after playing off the bench in the final. Steyn is in need of game time after his domestic side, the Cheetahs weren't included in the Rainbow Nations Cup. His big boot will help Pollard keep the Georgians at bay, whilst Jessie Kriel links up with him at 13.
Willie Le Roux starts at fullback and will have the tough task of guiding two test debut wingers through the game as Rosco Specman and Aphelele Fassi earn their maiden starts. Le Roux and Pollard are the only two backs retained from the run on side in the final as numerous personnel changes were necessitated due to injury and isolation.
Herschel and Elton Jantjies are on the bench, along with Damian Willemse as Nienaber has moved away from the "Bomb Squad" 6-2 split that was deployed successfully in 2019. Overall the team has lots of experience, and whilst there are 3 new players in the side, the majority of the team were together in Japan and have played together previously, now it just comes down to putting it together on the field.
Either way, Friday night marks the much anticipated return of Springbok Rugby