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Faf de Klerk to play 50th Test as Springboks begin World Cup defence against Scotland with 6-2 ‘bomb squad’

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Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk will win his 50th Test cap when the Springboks open their Rugby World Cup title defence against Scotland in Marseille on Sunday.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made a number of changes to the team for Sunday’s clash, which saw Jasper Wiese taking over the number 8 from veteran Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel reuniting in the midfield, and Cheslin Kolbe starting on the left wing.

“We are pleased with the squad depth we have built in the last few months, and we believe this group of players strikes the right balance to achieve the result we need against Scotland,” said Nienaber in a statement.

“We are very excited about this occasion. We’ve been building for this World Cup for the last four years and we are thrilled to get our campaign started.

“We’ve been working hard in the last few weeks to make sure we are as prepared as possible going into this match and we are fully aware of the challenge that awaits us.”

After the Springboks’ demolition of the All Blacks in London two weeks ago, there was a lot of talk as to whether they will stick with the 7-1 split on the bench. But, Nienaber and co. decided to stick with the tried and trusted 6-2, with Grant Williams and Willie le Roux providing backline cover on the bench.

Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden and Vermeulen make up the rest of the Bomb Squad.

The world champion Springboks’ World Cup opener against the Scots will kick off at 5.45 on Sunday afternoon

Springbok squad for Scotland

15, Damian Willemse; 14, Kurt-Lee Arendse; 13, Jesse Kriel; 12, Damian de Allende; 11, Cheslin Kolbe; 10 Manie Libbok; 9, Faf de Klerk; 8, Jasper Wiese; 7, Pieter-Steph du Toit; 6, Siya Kolisi (captain); 5, Franco Mostert; 4, Eben Etzebeth; 3, Frans Malherbe; 2, Malcolm Marx; 1, Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: 16, Bongi Mbonambi; 17, Ox Nche; 18, Trevor Nyakane; 19, RG Snyman; 20, Marco van Staden; 21, Duane Vermeulen; 22, Grant Williams; 23, Willie le Roux

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