Rassie Erasmus has revealed his World Cup hand by naming what seems to be his first-choice group to the Springboks’ World Cup warm-up against Japan.
The group shows one change in the starting XV that drew 16-16 with the All Blacks in Wellington in July.
Even the Springboks carry on their old rivals in Yokohama in their tournament opener on September 21, and the unwanted Erasmus named for Friday’s warm-up appears likely to be the one to take the area in two weeks’ time since the Boks proceed in search of a third World Cup title.
The solitary shift to this Wellington team sees skipper Siya Kolisi preferred to Kwagga Smith at flank. Kolisi was injured for the Rugby Championship effort of South Africa but left his own return in their penultimate World Cup warm-up against Argentina in Pretoria.
Kolisi is joined at the back row by Duane Vermeulen. Du Toit’s first launch at the Green and Gold came against Japan from the 2015 World Cup, when the Springboks endured the biggest shock in the championship’s history at a 34-32 reduction in Brighton.
Erasmus reported the side represents how desperate the Boks would be to avoid another defeat on the Brave Blossoms, while Erasmus might be committing his team a run-out before they take on the the All Blacks.
“I hope this choice will deliver a powerful message that we’ve got the utmost respect for Japan,” said Erasmus.
“Maybe we made the mistake of complacency against them in the past but we have been beating the message that we should never do this against Japan.
“They are a intelligent group of great athletes, playing at home, having won a name in the past month and now desperate to prove something. This Test is just too big a challenge as any we have had this year.
“They even made a movie about the last time they played with us – it’s our job to be sure that there’s no sequel.”
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 1 Steven Kitshoff, two Malcolm Marx, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel.