Boks shock with half-backs for France play-off

Manie Libbok and Cobus Reinach will start for the men in green and gold when they play in the last eight on Sunday.

Manie Libbok will start at fly-half in a new-look halfback combination as the Springboks opted for three backline replacements for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against France on Sunday.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber named an experienced team – including 15 players who featured in the 2019 final – for their quarter-final at the Stade de France in Paris.

Eight players in the starting line-up will run out in the same positions as they did in the memorable 2019 final victory against England: Siya Kolisi, who will again lead the team, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen, Bongi Mbonambi, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Damian de Allende and Cheslin Kolbe.

Only two players in Sunday’s starting team, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Manie Libbok, and two more on the bench, Deon Fourie and Ox Nche, were not part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad.

In the backline, Libbok and Cobus Reinach will join forces in an exciting attacking half-back combination.

Faf de Klerk and Handré Pollard are joined on the bench by Willie le Roux, as the Springboks opted for a five-three split between replacement forwards and backs.

Deon Fourie serves as the impact hooker, with Ox Nche and Vincent Koch (both props), RG Snyman (lock) and Kwagga Smith (loose forward) as the other backup forwards.

Springboks – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Cobus Reinach, 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 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux.

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