Rassie Erasmus has named 12 starters for the 2023 Rugby World Cup finals. The South African team will play Ireland on Saturday in the first of two highly anticipated home games at Loftus Stadium.

Only fullback Willie le Roux, No.8 Kwagga Smith and prop Ox Nche were absent from the 12-11 win over New Zealand in Paris last October, although they all came on as substitutes.

Handre Pollard is back at fly-half after missing the Springboks’ 41-13 win over Wales in London last month, as are a host of other players who missed that match because it fell outside the international window.

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Highlights from the Wales v South Africa summer international match at Twickenham.

“This is the team that we think will give us the boost we need against Ireland, the second highest ranked team in the world,” said Erasmus.

“We are blessed with such depth in our squad and we are fortunate to have multiple Rugby World Cup winners within our ranks who know what it takes to perform at the highest level.

“The fact that most of these guys have played together before is a plus for us. Also, most of them have played against Ireland before, so they know exactly what the challenge is going to be. Especially since we haven’t beaten them since 2016.”

Only three players from the Springboks’ squad for the match against Ireland were absent from their World Cup victory in France: prop Gerhard Steenekamp, ​​lock Salmaan Moerat and utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

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Erasmus have opted for a 6-2 split between forwards and full-backs on the bench, aided by the versatility of Feinberg-Mngomezulu, who can cover at fly-half, centre and full-back, and Grant Williams, who is normally a scrum-half but can also play on the wing.

Ireland have never won a Test series in South Africa, but were the only team to beat the Springboks at last year’s World Cup, winning 13-8 in Paris before losing to New Zealand in the quarter-finals.

“South Africa are just coming off a win over the Welsh with many of their best players missing, but we now see Courageous captain Siya Kolisi coming back and leading a very experienced team,” said former South Africa winger Bryan Habana. Sky Sports News.

“They are playing an Irish team without Johnny Sexton, but Peter O’Mahony and his team have made it clear that they want to come to South Africa to end the history of never winning a series in South Africa.

“It’s a test match between two of the best teams in the world who want to compete for the top spot.”

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Ox Nche, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Kwagga Smith.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, ​​​​18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Marco van Staden, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

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