De Villiers back to lead Springboks

11:41 am on 18 September 2015

Captain Jean de Villiers has recovered from a broken jaw and will return to the South African team for their opening Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Japan on Sunday morning.

The 34-year-old suffered a serious knee injury in November against Wales and broke his jaw in his comeback Test against Argentina last month.

Jean de Villiers has returned to international rugby after suffering this serious knee injury seven months ago.

Jean de Villiers has returned to international rugby after suffering this serious knee injury seven months ago. Photo: Photosport

But he has recovered to be picked for the Springboks' first World Cup game game, with coach Heyneke Meyer opting for consistency of selection after victory over Argentina in their last game in August.

"He has not had time to find form, but people don't see what he brings on the field. He is a general on the field and we want that against Japan," Meyer told reporters.

Pat Lambie was preferred to Handre Pollard at first five, while Jesse Kriel remained at centre.

The need to bring players back from long-term injury also determined some choices for the match in Brighton.

Flanker Francois Louw was selected for his first game in two months, and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and prop Coenie Oosthuizen were included on the bench. Neither Du Preez nor Oosthuizen have played for the Boks this year.

South Africa:

15-Zane Kirchner, 14-Lwazi Mvovo, 13-Jesse Kriel, 12-Jean de Villiers (captain), 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Pat Lambie, 9-Ruan Pienaar, 8-Schalk Burger, 7-Willem Alberts, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Lood de Jager, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1- Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16-Adriaan Strauss, 17-Trevor Nyakane, 18-Coenie Oosthuizen, 19-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20-Siya Kolisi, 21-Fourie du Preez, 22-Handre Pollard, 23-JP Pietersen

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