27 Sep 2011

Matfield to captain Springbok team against Samoa

7:56 am on 27 September 2011

Victor Matfield will captain the Springbok team to play Samoa in their decisive Pool D World Cup clash at North Harbour Stadium on Friday night.

The talismanic lock returns to the side after missing South Africa's last two games with a hamstring strain.

Matfield's inclusion is one of seven changes to the team that defeated Namibia 87-0 at the same venue on Thursday.

He assumes the captaincy in place of hooker John Smit, who drops to the bench, in a pre-planned move to allow Bismarck du Plessis to start his first match of the tournament.

There are five changes in the pack as Du Plessis is partnered with returning prop Tendai Mtawarira and brother Jannie du Plessis in an all-Sharks front row.

The final change among the forwards sees the return of Heinrich Brüssow to the back row.

Lock Bakkies Botha is unavailable after picking up a hamstring injury against Namibia but the remaining four forwards Smit, CJ van der Linde, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Willem Alberts all drop to the bench.

Wing JP Pietersen and halfback Fourie du Preez return to the starting line-up among the back division while utility back Francois Hougaard drops to the bench where he is joined by the fit-again midfielder Jean de Villiers.

The Springboks need at least one point from the match against Samoa to be sure of qualifying for the quarterfinals.