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PA Cheslin Kolbe, file photo.
# XV
Kolbe starts at full-back as Springboks name team to face Ireland
The brilliant winger will wear 15 for the first time, while Damian Willemse starts at out-half.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 1st 2022, 3:20 PM

SOUTH AFRICA HAVE today named their starting team to face Ireland in their Autumn international clash at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, with Cheslin Kolbe picked to start at full-back for the first time. 

Kolbe, usually a winger, will wear 15 as part of a back three featuring Kurt-Lee Arendse and Makazole Mapimpi. Coach Jacques Nienaber says Kolbe will also provide cover at fly-half, where the Springboks’ reserves have been depleted by injury.

Jesse Kriel and former ex-Munster man Damian de Allende form the centre partnership. Kriel will wear 13 with key player Lukhanyo Am missing out with a knee injury. 

Damian Willemse starts at out-half, with Handré Pollard and Elton Jantjies absent. He is partnered by scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse. 

“Damian (Willemse) has done well for us at fly-half, and he is continuing to grow as a player in that role, while we think Cheslin has the potential to add a new dimension to our game at fullback”, said Nienaber. 

“He was sidelined for a while after breaking his jaw against Wales, but he has played four 80-minute matches for Toulon since returning to play, and we are confident that he will step up to the challenge.”

The front row will feature Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, and Frans Malherbe with Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager picked at second row. Jasper Wiese wears 8, in a back row that also features Pieter Steph-du Toit and Siya Kolisi. 

The Springboks have opted for a six/two split on the bench. 

“Ireland are the top ranked team in the world currently and they’ve shown in the past that they can be a force to reckoned with in Dublin,” added Nienaber.

“We last faced them on their home patch in 2017 and they beat us 38-3 in that match, and they also beat us here 29-15 in 2014 and they will draw confidence from that. Similarly, to us they will also view this as a vital clash with an eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup in France where we will cross paths in the pool stages.

“Obviously we are a long way out from the World Cup, but we have a limited number of matches left before the competition and the preparation doesn’t get better than playing a side we will face in the World Cup and the No 1 side in the world.

 “This match is important for us for many reasons, one of which is to test our player combinations with the World Cup less than a year away.”


15 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon) 

14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) 

13 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) 

12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights)

11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) 

10 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers)

9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) 

8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) 

7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) 

6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) 

5 – Lood de Jager (Wild Knights) 

4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks)

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3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers)

2 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) 

1 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) 


16 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks) 

17 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks)

18 – Vincent Koch (unattached)

19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) 

20 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) 

21 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) 

22 – Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) 

23 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) 

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