OPINION: Springboks STRONGEST starting XI ahead of Rugby World Cup 2023
The Springboks have enormous depth ahead of Rugby World Cup 2023, even with a trio of key injuries. Is this their strongest starting XV?
The Springboks begin the defence of their Rugby World Cup crown on September 10th against Scotland in Marseille. As things stand, what is their strongest XV on paper?
IS THIS THE STRONGEST SPRINGBOKS XV RIGHT NOW?
Through a combination of discussions on Slack threads, WhatsApp groups and informal chats with friends, here’s what I’ve come up with, and it was difficult.
- 1. Steven Kitshoff
- 2. Malcolm Marx
- 3. Frans Malherbe
- 4. Eben Etzebeth
- 5. RG Snyman
- 6. Siya Kolisi
- 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit
- 8. Duane Vermuelen
- 9. Jaden Hendrikse
- 10. Manie Libbok
- 11. Makazole Mapimpi
- 12. Damian Willemse
- 13. Damian de Allende
- 14. Kurt-Lee Arendse
- 15. Willie Le Roux
This would mean the wildly talented Cheslin Kolbe on the bench as cover for flyhalf, both wings and the fullback slot. He could also start, of course, but at whose expense? Canan Moodie also ahs the ability to play at 13 despite being a specialist winger. There’s also the outside chance that both Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am could become available, should any members of the initial squad pick up injuries or have to leave the group for personal reasons.
RUGBY WORLD CUP SCHEDULE
- Sunday, 10 September – Boks v Scotland (Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
- Sunday, 17 September – Boks v Romania (Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux)
- Saturday, 23 September – Boks v Ireland (Stade de France, Paris)
- Sunday, 1 October – Boks v Tonga (Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
- Weekend of 14/15 October – Quarter-finals
- Weekend of 21/22 October – Semi-finals
- Saturday, 28 October – Final
All of the debate and justification has happened already, so none of that will be included here. Just 15 names. What do you think? Feel free to agree or strongly disagree in the comments section below.
Meanwhile, hit up James Freemantle for more insights, analysis and love for the beautiful game of rugby.