Tried and tested for Boks
September 8, 2011
John Smit will lead the Springboks against Wales © Getty Images
South Africa coach Peter De Villiers has placed his faith in the Springboks old guard for their opening Rugby World Cup clash with Wales in Wellington.
De Villiers has named the most experienced team in South Africa's history with a total of 815 Test caps between them. Captain John Smit returns to skipper the side from hooker while loose-head prop Tendai Mtawarira, back-row forward Schalk Burger and fullback Frans Steyn are also recalled. Bakkies Botha's failure to recover from an Achilles heel injury opens the way for Daine Rossouw come into the second row.
Smit's recall means hooker Bismark du Plessis drops to the bench as one of five forwards in reserve. Butch James and Francois Hougaard cover the backs from the sidelines.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has placed his faith in young Scarlets fly-half Rhy Priestland with the experienced Stephen Jones still absent with a calf injury. With Priestland handed the No.10 shirt, James Hook starts at fullback and Lee Byrne, who endured a poor game against Argentina in Wales' final warm-up match, misses out on the matchday squad. Leigh Halfpenny covers the back three positions from the bench having missed out on a starting slot behind George North and Shane Williams.
Elsewhere Newport Gwent Dragons lock Luke Charteris is preferred to Cardiff Blues forward Bradley Davies. Along with Stephen Jones, prop Gethin Jenkins and No.8 Ryan Jones were not considered due to injury. Toby Faletau, therefore, retains his place at the back of the scrum alongside established back-rowers Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate.
South Africa: Frans Steyn; JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean De Villiers, Bryan Habana; Morné Steyn, Fourie Du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, John Smit (c), Jannie Du Plessis, Danie Rossouw, Victor Matfield, Heinrich Brüssow, Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies
Replacements: Bismarck Du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Johan Muller, Willem Alberts, Francois Hougaard, Butch James
Wales: James Hook; George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (c), Toby Faletau.
Replacements: Lloyd Burns, Ryan Bevington, Bradley Davies, Andy Powell, Tavis Knoyle, Scott Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referee: George Clancy (Ireland), Vinny Munro (NZ)
Television Match Official: Matt Goddard (Australia)
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