9 Sep 2011

Smit named to lead experienced Springboks in World Cup opener

8:09 am on 9 September 2011

The defending champion Springboks are taking no chances against Wales in their opening World Cup game on Sunday in Wellington.

Coach Peter de Villiers has named their most experienced team on record with a staggering total of 815 caps among them.

The lineup includes 16 members of the victorious 2007 squad, with 11 of them in the starting XV.

In one of five changes from the starting lineup that beat the All Blacks last month in Port Elizabeth, captain John Smit is named at hooker ahead of Bismarck du Plessis in an all-Sharks front row.

The captain's selection has been a bubbling issue for the World Cup holders, given Smit's general play has been overshadowed by his Sharks team-mate Du Plessis.

Lock Danie Rossouw replaces Bakkies Botha, who's been ruled out because of a nagging Achilles injury.

Fullback Frans Steyn returns to the team missing the Springboks' 18-5 victory over the All Blacks in their final Tri-Nations match in Port Elizabeth last month with a hamstring injury.

South Africa: 15-Frans Steyn, 14-JP Pietersen, 13-Jaque Fourie, 12-Jean de Villers, 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Morne Steyn, 9-Fourie Du Preez; 8-Pierre Spies, 7-Schalk Burger, 6-Heinrich Brussow, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Danie Rossouw, 3-Jannie Du Plessis, 2-John Smit, 1-Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements - 16-Bismarck Du Plessis, 17-Gurthro Steenkamp, 18-CJ van der Linde, 19-Johan Muller, 20-Willem Alberts, 21-Francois Hougaard, 22-Butch James