The Springboks will begin their World Cup title defence on Sunday, 10 September, against Scotland in Marseille, with kick off at 17:45.
South Africa come into the tournament after claiming a resounding win over the All Blacks in their final warm-up game, and although many questions were answered, there also now some selection conundrums that have arisen.
At scrumhalf, Faf de Klerk is almost certain to start in the No 9 jersey, but there is very little to choose between Jaden Hendrikse, Cobus Reinach or Grant Williams when it comes to the bench replacement.
Interestingly, a hint may have been given when Williams appeared at a media briefing on Tuesday, with players who are set to be involved in the matchday squad generally included in press conferences.
It remains to be seen if this proves to be the case, but there can be no doubt that Williams massively impressed the Springbok coaches before suffering an unfortunate head injury against Argentina in the lead-up to the World Cup.
“It was my first start and I was quite emotional because I wanted to use that opportunity,” Williams said from France. “The rest I couldn’t remember as everything happened in the first 10 seconds and that was my game.
“I’m so happy that I can still be here and be part of the Springbok squad … I was worried I may miss out. I really thought I was gaining momentum when the incident happened. I felt like that was my opportunity gone, but the capping ceremony on Monday made me realise that I’m here now.”
Meanwhile, there is no doubt that prior to the World Cup, the one player who has put his hand up for selection more than anyone else is Canan Moodie.
The 20-year-old has been simply sensational every time he has pulled on a Bok jersey this year, and when considering what good form he is in, the coaches will surely want to see him in their matchday squad for the big World Cup games.
It’s unlikely that Moodie will be considered at outside centre so early in his career, and now, according to some reports on Sunday, he is indeed now viewed as a starter and will keep his place in the XV for the clash against Scotland.
The suggestion is that he will start on one wing, so the coaches must decide between Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Makazole Mapimpi on the other berth out wide. Kolbe is almost certain to win that race.
All in all, it’s certainly a healthy Springbok selection headache that has developed.
South Africa will launch their Rugby World Cup title defence on Sunday, 10 September, against Scotland in Marseille, which will be followed by pool matches against Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (1 October).
The Rugby World Cup quarter-finals will be played on the weekend of 14/15 October, with the semi-finals on 20/21 October and the final on Saturday, 28 October.
SPRINGBOKS RUGBY WORLD CUP SQUAD:
Props: Steven Kitshoff (Ulster – 74 caps, 10 points), Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks – 45 caps, 0 points), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers – 61 caps, 5 points), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks – 19 caps, 0 points), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92 – 61 caps, 5 points).
Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks – 60 caps, 60 points), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears – 61 caps, 75 points).
Locks: Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks – 112 caps, 25 points), Jean Kleyn (Munster – 2 caps, 0 points), Marvin Orie (Perpignan – 14 caps, 0 points), RG Snyman (Munster – 26 caps, 5 points).
Loose Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz – 69 caps, 30 points), Siya Kolisi (captain – Racing 92 – 75 caps, 45 points), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs – 33 caps, 25 points), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls – 12 caps, 0 points), Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby – 68 caps, 15 points), Jasper Wiese (Leicester – 22 caps, 5 points).
Utility Forwards: Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers – 7 caps, 0 points), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat – 65 caps, 15 points).
Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles – 48 caps, 44 points), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks – 12 caps, 12 points), Cobus Reinach (Montpelllier – 25 caps, 45 points), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks – 4 caps, 0 points).
Flyhalves: Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers – 7 caps, 45 points), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers – 31 caps, 36 points).
Centres: Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights – 72 caps, 50 points), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins – 13 caps, 0 points), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles – 61 caps, 60 points).
Outside Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls – 9 caps, 50 points), Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath – 25 caps, 81 points), Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls – 86 caps, 65 points), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks – 38 caps, 115 points), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls – 6 caps, 10 points).