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Louw to start at Villa Park

23 September 2015

Francois Louw, a try-scorer in the opening round of the World Cup, will earn his 38th South African cap this Saturday at Villa Park.

The Springboks have made eight changes to the starting line-up and included two new players on the bench to meet the challenge of a talented Samoan team in their second match of the Rugby World Cup in Birmingham. 

Adriaan Strauss, who will win his 50th cap, is the starting hooker, while Duane Vermeulen will make his first Test appearance of the year in the No 8 jersey as coach Heyneke Meyer reacted swiftly to the shock of defeat against Japan. 

Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen and Damian De Allende return in the backline – with skipper Jean de Villiers shifting to outside centre – while there are new halfbacks in Handré Pollard and Fourie du Preez. In the pack, Eben Etzebeth returns to the starting line-up with Vermeulen and Strauss. On the bench, Schalk Brits and Frans Malherbe make their first appearance on a Rugby World Cup teamsheet. 

“It’s been a very tough week after the massive disappointment of last weekend and we owe our supporters a winning performance on Saturday,” said Meyer. 

“The last few days have been a time for retrospection and the team this week has been selected specifically with Samoa in mind, as we know we’ll have to be at our very best to succeed. 

“They will pose a massive challenge and I think it’s fair to say that it’s the biggest game of the season for us. They have a very strong team with players plying their trade all over the world. 

“Four years ago in the World Cup pool match in New Zealand, the Samoans pushed the Boks close and we’re expecting more of the same this weekend. It will be brutally physical and we have to be 100% focused and ready.”

Meyer said he was pleased to see Louw's back row partner Vermeulen return to the team. It will be the current South African Rugby Player of the Year’s first Test of 2015 after he underwent neck surgery early in July. 

“Duane has been one of the stalwarts of this team and it’s great to have him back in the mix,” said Meyer. “He is one of the best loose forwards in the world and apart from being a superb ball-carrier and also a great line-out option, he is also good on the ground and brings leadership to the team."

Springbok team to face Samoa: 

Position

Name

Franchise / Club

Test Caps

Test points

15

Willie le Roux

Toyota Cheetahs

28

45

14

JP Pietersen

Cell C Sharks

61

90

13

Jean de Villiers (captain)

DHL Stormers

108

135

12

Damian De Allende

DHL Stormers

7

0

11

Bryan Habana

Toulon

111

295

10

Handré Pollard

Vodacom Bulls

14

100

9

Fourie du Preez

Suntory

71

75

8

Duane Vermeulen

DHL Stormers

29

10

7

Schalk Burger

DHL Stormers

80

70

6

Francois Louw

Bath

37

30

5

Victor Matfield (vice-captain)

Vodacom Bulls

124

35

4

Eben Etzebeth

DHL Stormers

38

5

3

Jannie du Plessis

Cell C Sharks

65

5

2

Adriaan Strauss

Vodacom Bulls

49

30

1

Tendai Mtawarira

Cell C Sharks

69

10

Replacements:

16

Schalk Brits

Saracens

8

0

17

Trevor Nyakane

Vodacom Bulls

17

5

18

Frans Malherbe

DHL Stormers

6

0

19

Lood de Jager

Toyota Cheetahs

13

20

20

Siya Kolisi

DHL Stormers

12

0

21

Ruan Pienaar

Ulster

85

135

22

Pat Lambie

Cell C Sharks

45

129

23

Jesse Kriel

Vodacom Bulls

5

10

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