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Four former Lowvelders in Rugby World Cup final

Faf de Klerk and Duane Vermeulen, who started their rugby careers barefoot on the fields on Laerskool Bergland and Laerskool Nelspruit respectively, will start the match at the Stade de France.

Four former Lowvelders are in the Springbok match day 23 for the Rugby World Cup final against the All Blacks at the Stade de France on Saturday October 28 at 21:00.

Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber announced the team for the final at 09:00 this morning, Thursday October 26.

Faf de Klerk in action during the quarter- final match between France and South Africa. Photo: EPA/YOAN VALAT/BackpagePix.

Faf de Klerk will start the match at scrum half. He will earn his 55th Bok cap and will be playing in his second World Cup final.

De Klerk was born in Mbombela on October 19, 1991. From U9 level, he played for Laerskool Bergland’s A team and also captained the school’s first team. He attended Hoërskool Nelspruit in Grade Eight and Nine before he went to Hoërskool Waterkloof.

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De Klerk and Handré Pollard will start together as the South African halfback combination for the 25th time, moving past Joost van der Westhuizen and Henry Honiball (24 tests) as the most experienced halfbacks in Springbok history.

Duane Vermeulen in action against England. Photo: EPA/MOHAMMED BADRA/BackpagePix.

Duane Vermeulen will don the number eight jersey. He is playing in his third World Cup and was man of the match in the final against England four years ago. He has played 75 matches for the Springboks.

Vermeulen was born in Mbombela on July 3, 1986. His early rugby days saw him play barefoot on Laerskool Nelspruit’s sport fields. He went on to play for Hoërskool Nelspruit’s first team.

Trevor Nyakane. Photo: Adam Davy/PA/BackpagePix.

Trevor Nyakane is on the bench. He can play tight- and loose-head prop. Nyakane will be playing in his second World Cup, but was not in the match 23 for the final in 2019. It is likely he will come on for Frans Malherbe in the second half to earn his 67th cap.

Nyakane was born on May 4, 1989, in Bushbuckridge. However, he attended a top Limpopo rugby school, Ben Vorster.

Kwagga Smith in action against England. Photo: EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/BackpagePix.

Versatile loose forward Kwagga Smith is also among the reserves. He is likely to replace Siya Kolisi, probably early in the second half. He will also serve as cover in the backline, as Nienaber has selected only one backline player on the bench, Willie le Roux.

Smith was also a member of the 2019 World Cup squad, but did not play in the final. He will earn his 40th Springbok cap on Saturday.

Smith first played rugby for Laerskool Lydenburg, before attending HTS Middelburg.

The fifth former Lowvelder in the Bok squad, Vincent Koch, has a minor knee injury was was not considered for the final.
Koch made Mbombela his home when he played for the Airlink Pumas from 2013 to 2016.

Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith and Faf de Klerk will play in the World Cup final. Vincent Koch (right) was not considered for the match as he is nursing a knee injury. Photo: Steve Haag Sports/BackpagePix.

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