Handre Pollard and Faf de Klerk are the only two changes to the Springbok XV, with a return to a 7-1 bench, to face the All Blacks in the World Cup final on Saturday.
Head coach Jacques Nienaber recalled the Japan 2019 heroes to the starting lineup for the tournament decider. The halfback pair start together for the 25th time, moving past Joost van der Westhuizen and Henry Honiball (24 Tests), to make them the most experienced halfback pairing in Bok history.
Pollard and De Klerk – who started on the bench in the semi-final against England and the quarter-final against France – replace the duo of Manie Libbok and Cobus Reinach, who both drop out of the 23 to accommodate a split of seven forwards and one back on the bench.
They are among a starting contingent which features 10 players who started in Yokohama four years ago, and is the most experienced Springbok team ever with a combined total of 987 caps (eclipsing the record set the previous week against England of 895 Test caps).
The rest of the backline remains unchanged with Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel patrolling the midfield and the back three of Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Damian Willemse.
A further four players on the bench also featured in the matchday 23 at Yokohama Stadium, while 15 of the players in the squad appeared when South Africa beat New Zealand 35-7 at Twickenham in August.
Only two players in Nienaber’s forward pack did not start the 2019 final – lock Franco Mostert and prop Steven Kitshoff – with both playing off the bench four years ago. Mostert is paired once again with Eben Etzebeth, while Kitshoff partners hooker Bongi Mbonambi and prop Frans Malherbe in the front row.
Captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen will again unite in an impactful loose trio.
No 8 Jasper Wiese and lock Jean Kleyn are drafted onto the bench, having been among the non-playing squad last week.
The only enforced change among the replacements is at prop where Trevor Nyakane replaces Vincent Koch, who is nursing a knee injury.
He joins Ox Nche and Deon Fourie as front-row cover, while RG Snyman and Kleyn, with Kwagga Smith and Wiese, will serve as back-up in the second and back row, respectively. The only back on the bench is Willie le Roux.
Springboks – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jasper Wiese, 23 Willie le Roux.
Photo: Franck Fife/AFP