NEWS SPORTS

Its do or die for Boks as they face France

DANIEL Duane Vermeulen has been included the team to face France in the quarter-finals, this Sunday.

The No 8 did not feature in previous matches against Scotland and Ireland but was given a run to face both Tonga and Romania.

One would have expected the World Cup winner to feature in all matches, but the coaches decided otherwise.

Meanwhile, head coach Jacques Nienaber and his director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, have named a strong team for Sunday, as they strive to defend the Webb Ellis Cup.

A core of experienced players, 15 of whom featured in the 2019 World Cup finals four years ago, eight of which are in the starting line-up.

A further four players were part of the squad in Japan, leaving only four newcomers set to do battle.

“Most of these players have Rugby World Cup experience and several of them were involved in the 2019 final, so they know what it takes to perform in big moments,” said Nienaber.

“Twenty of these players were also in the matchday squad that played France in Marseille last season, which was a good dress rehearsal for what we can expect from France and their supporters.”

Recalled Lukhanyo Am and Handre Pollard will be on the bench.

Nienaber said he relished the prospect of facing the hosts at one of the world’s iconic rugby stadiums in the quarter-final.

“It’s going to be a massive clash for the players and supporters and we’re really excited about the prospect,” he said. “We’ve been working toward this World Cup since 2018 and we can now book a place in the semi-final, so we have to go out there and give everything.

“It’s do-or-die in the tournament, so we have to be accurate in executing our game plan and we have to capitalise on our opportunities because the margins will be small.

“We know the match is going to be as intense as last year, if not more intense. We had a red card in that match but we were still in with a chance to win it with three or four minutes to go, so discipline will again be important and we’ll have to maintain our good disciplinary record.”

The squad for Sunday:

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, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: 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.

Image (Duane Vermeulen- it’s a do or die- as they face France on Sunday).

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