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Springboks pick best possible side for 3rd-place playoff

South Africa picks strongest possible side for 3rd-place playoff, Du Preez out injured

Springboks pick best possible side for 3rd-place playoff

LONDON (AP) -- South Africa has selected its strongest possible lineup for the third-place playoff against Argentina at the Rugby World Cup, with scrumhalf Fourie du Preez the only regular missing because of facial injuries sustained in the semifinal loss to New Zealand.

Ruan Pienaar replaces Du Preez, and 38-year-old Victor Matfield starts in place of Lood de Jager for the 127th and final test of his career. Matfield takes over the captaincy from Du Preez, whose test career is now over.

The rest of the team is unchanged from the one that started the 20-18 loss to the All Blacks, despite Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer saying after the semi that the match -- officially called the Bronze Final -- "does not mean anything to me."

"This is a critical match for us and we owe it to ourselves and our supporters to end the season on a high note," Meyer said in announcing the team on Wednesday.

"I considered fielding a much-changed team and weighed the pros and cons, but ultimately decided the team that has grown together over the past few weeks was the one with the best chance of delivering victory for our supporters."

Flyhalf Pat Lambie will reach 50 test caps for South Africa if he comes off the bench.

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South Africa: Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen, Jesse Kriel, Damian De Allende, Bryan Habana, Handre Pollard, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield (captain), Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Jannie du Plessis, Lood de Jager, Willem Alberts, Rudy Paige, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.


Updated : 2021-09-23 23:08 GMT+08:00