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Louw returns to face Japan

16 September 2015

Bath Rugby flanker Francois Louw will return from injury to start for South Africa on Saturday in their Rugby World Cup opener against Japan, kick-off 16.45.

The most experienced Springbok side ever are bracing themselves for a different kind of challenge when the face Japan in their Rugby World Cup opener in Brighton on Saturday.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has named the most experienced side ever, with Jean de Villiers as captain for this very important match against a team South Africa has never played.

“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.”

Meyer said Saturday’s Test will be a great occasion against an opponent that will challenge the Springboks on different levels.

“We play against the big teams from the Southern and Northern Hemisphere quite often and with them it’s mostly a case of you know what to expect,” said Meyer.

“But Japan will pose a different threat. They have a very astute coach in Eddie Jones and our players who play in Japan have warned us to expect a very high tempo game and good, low tackling to stop momentum.

“The players know that nothing but their best will be good enough on Saturday and we realise the importance of starting the World Cup on a good note, but having said that, we also know that there is no such thing as an easy game in rugby anymore and they will be just as fired up as us.”

Springbok team to face Japan:

15      Zane Kirchner

14      Lwazi Mvovo 

13      Jesse Kriel     

12      Jean de Villiers (captain)     

11      Bryan Habana

10      Pat Lambie    

9        Ruan Pienaar

8        Schalk Burger          

7        Willem Alberts

6        Francois Louw

5        Victor Matfield (vice-captain)        

4        Lood de Jager

3        Jannie du Plessis      

2        Bismarck du Plessis   

1        Tendai Mtawarira     

Replacements:

16      Adriaan Strauss       

17      Trevor Nyakane       

18      Coenie Oosthuizen   

19      Pieter-Steph du Toit 

20      Siya Kolisi     

21      Fourie du Preez       

22      Handré Pollard

23      JP Pietersen  

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