The Springboks’ World Cup squad. Photo: Twitter

Springboks squad explained: 4 scrumhalves, 2 hookers, 2 flyhalves

There is an interesting composition when it comes to key positions in the Springboks’ World Cup squad. Here’s what the coaches were thinking.


The Springboks’ World Cup squad. Photo: Twitter

For anyone looking at the Springboks’ World Cup squad, there will be some real question marks over certain selections.

In particular, what stands out is that the coaches have opted to pick as many as four scrumhalves, while going for just two hookers and just two flyhalves.

Below we unpack what the reasoning and thinking is all about.

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Four scrumhalves

It’s very unusual for a World Cup squad to include more than three scrumhalves, but the Springbok coaches have included all of Faf de Klerk (48 caps, 44 points), Jaden Hendrikse (12 caps, 12 points), Cobus Reinach (25 caps, 45 points) and Grant Williams (4 caps, 0 points).

So why have they done this?

Well, the thinking is clearly for one of these players to serve as an emergency flyhalf back-up, with De Klerk having been mentioned as someone who can slot in during a desperate situation, while he’s also capable of covering the goal kicking.

Williams may also be seen as someone who can play on the wing during the ‘smaller’ pool games.

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Two hookers

It’s certainly interesting that the Springboks opted to omit Joseph Dweba (although he is on the standby list), with Bongi Mbonambi and Malcom Marx backed as the two specialist hookers.

It means that Deon Fourie will be seen as the ‘third-choice’ hooker, offering back up in a position where he hasn’t played regularly for quite some time. It’s certainly a risk of sorts.

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Two flyhalves

With Handre Pollard forced onto the standby list due to a calf injury, Manie Libbok is in fact the only specialist flyhalf in the squad, with Damian Willemse offering cover.

It is interesting that Elton Jantjies wasn’t considered for a call-up, but clearly the Springboks feel they can get by, although it’s remarkable that Libbok is now suddenly the first-choice World Cup flyhalf.

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South Africa will launch their Rugby World Cup title defence on Sunday, 10 September, against Scotland in Marseille, which will be followed by pool matches against Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (1 October).

The Rugby World Cup quarter-finals will be played on the weekend of 14/15 October, with the semi-finals on 20/21 October and the final on Saturday, 28 October.

Springboks Rugby World Cup squad:


Props: Steven Kitshoff (Ulster – 74 caps, 10 points), Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks – 45 caps, 0 points), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers – 61 caps, 5 points), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks – 19 caps, 0 points), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92 – 61 caps, 5 points).

Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks – 60 caps, 60 points), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears – 61 caps, 75 points).

Locks: Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks – 112 caps, 25 points), Jean Kleyn (Munster – 2 caps, 0 points), Marvin Orie (Perpignan – 14 caps, 0 points), RG Snyman (Munster – 26 caps, 5 points).

Loose Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz – 69 caps, 30 points), Siya Kolisi (captain – Racing 92 – 75 caps, 45 points), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs – 33 caps, 25 points), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls – 12 caps, 0 points), Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby – 68 caps, 15 points), Jasper Wiese (Leicester – 22 caps, 5 points).

Utility Forwards: Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers – 7 caps, 0 points), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat – 65 caps, 15 points).

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Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles – 48 caps, 44 points), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks – 12 caps, 12 points), Cobus Reinach (Montpelllier – 25 caps, 45 points), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks – 4 caps, 0 points).

Flyhalves: Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers – 7 caps, 45 points), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers – 31 caps, 36 points).

Centres: Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights – 72 caps, 50 points), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins – 13 caps, 0 points), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles – 61 caps, 60 points).

Outside Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls – 9 caps, 50 points), Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath – 25 caps, 81 points), Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls – 86 caps, 65 points), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks – 38 caps, 115 points), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls – 6 caps, 10 points).

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The Springboks in a huddle. Photo: SA Rugby website

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