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RWC 2023: Mbonambi to captain Boks against Romania as Williams starts on wing

The Springboks have named Bongi Mbonambi as their captain for Sunday’s Rugby World Cup clash against Romania in Bordeaux.

Coach Jacques Nienaber made wholesale changes from the side that beat Scotland in Marseille this past weekend. 

The other major talking points are scrumhalf Grant Williams starting on the right wing while Canan Moodie is declared fit and will don the No 13 jersey outside Andre Esterhuizen at inside centre. 

Damian Willemse, meanwhile, takes over the flyhalf duties from Manie Libbok. 

Duane Vermeulen replaces Jasper Wiese, who is on the bench, at No 8 while Deon Fourie is the replacement hooker. 

The squad selection also means that all four scrumhalves picked in the 33-man squad for the tournament are included in the matchday 23. 

“People were surprised when we picked four scrumhalves in the squad but we knew they offered us the skills and versatility to provide backline options to manage the challenges that tournament rugby gives you,” said Nienaber. 

“They are all excellent scrumhalves, but Grant and Cobus can play wing and Faf has experience at No 10 – as do Cheslin and Willie. We have the same versatility among our forwards.

“Grant played school rugby on the wing, and he has come on at wing before for us, so we are excited to give him this opportunity to start there and for him to gain international experience in the position. 

“Faf is also one of our back up flyhalves in the squad, and the same applies to him, as it will be valuable for him and the team to get some game time in the position.

“We have been rotating and testing players in different positions since last season to put us in the fortunate position to have a group of 33 players in France that are closely matched in terms of their quality of play and skills, and who have been pushing one another for places in the last few months. It has allowed us to select a top-quality team for this match.”

The match kicks off at 15:00.


15 Willie le Roux, 14 Grant Williams, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi (c), 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20, Jasper Wiese, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Jesse Kriel

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