Rugby World Cup
Springboks call on experience for Japan clash
ESPN Staff
September 16, 2015
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South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has named the most experienced line-up in Springbok history to face Japan on Saturday.

Jean de Villiers has been confirmed as captain for the game in Brighton, leading a side containing a total of 880 Test caps for the first ever meeting of the two teams.

De Villers is joined in the starting XV by fellow centurions Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield, while Lood de Jager and Jannie du Plessis both return from injury.

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On the bench, Coenie Oosthuizen, Fourie du Preez and JP Pietersen return from injury, while Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane and Siya Kolisi have also been included amongst the substitutes.

"We've decided to go with some form of continuity as it's important to get a good start in the tournament, but we also wanted to bring back a number of players who have recently recovered from injury," said Meyer.

"It's great to see Jean, Francois, Lood, Jannie, Coenie, Fourie and JP back in action, and while we probably could've played Duane Vermeulen and Eben Etzebeth, in the end we decided to give them another week to fully recover from their injuries.

"The backline is almost unchanged as we also decided to reward the players who did so well in Buenos Aires. There will in all likelihood be changes again next week but for now these players deserve another opportunity to stake a claim."

South Africa team to face Japan:

Z. Kirchner (Leinster), L. Mvovo (Sharks), J. Kriel (Bulls), J. de Villiers (captain, Stormers), B. Habana (Toulon), P. Lambie (Sharks), R. Pienaar (Ulster); T. Mtawarira (Sharks), B. du Plessis (Sharks), J. du Plessis (Sharks), L. de Jager (Cheetahs), V. Matfield (Bulls), F. Louw (Bath), W. Alberts (Sharks), S. Burger (Stormers).

Replacements: A. Strauss (Bulls), T. Nyakane (Bulls), C. Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), P-S. du Toit (Sharks), S. Kolisi (Stormers), F. du Preez (Suntory), H. Pollard (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks). 

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