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Rugby World Cup 2023: Faf de Klerk earns 50th cap for South Africa against Scotland

Faf de Klerk with the World Cup trophy in 2019
De Klerk (left) is one of 12 World Cup winners in the South Africa matchday squad

World Cup Pool B: South Africa v Scotland

Venue: Stade Velodrome, Marseille Date: Sunday, 10 September Kick-off: 16:45 BST

Coverage: Listen on Radio Scotland & BBC Radio 5 Live; text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Scrum-half Faf de Klerk will make a 50th appearance for South Africa when the World Cup holders begin their defence against Scotland on Sunday.

Naming his side two days early, head coach Jacques Nienaber retains 11 of the players who started the 35-7 win over New Zealand at Twickenham.

Jasper Wiese comes in at number eight and winger Cheslin Kolbe returns on the left.

Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel form the centre partnership.

De Allende, De Klerk, flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, lock Eben Etzebeth, prop Frans Malherbe and captain Siya Kolisi were in the XV from the 2019 final victory, while Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Franco Mostert all came off the bench that day against England.

Long-time first choice full-back Willie le Roux, Duane Vermeulen and RG Snyman are World Cup winners among the replacements this time, with a 6-2 split between forwards and backs.

"We are pleased with the squad depth we have built in the last few months, and we believe this group of players strikes the right balance to achieve the result we need against Scotland," said Nienaber.

"We are very excited about this occasion. We've been building for this World Cup for the last four years and we are thrilled to get our campaign started.

"We've been working hard in the last few weeks to make sure we are as prepared as possible going into this match and we are fully aware of the challenge that awaits us."

South Africa are aiming for an eight successive win against Scotland and have lost just once in the past 15 meetings between the nations.

"Scotland are a quality team with a strong pack and skilful backs, and they play with a lot of intensity, so we need to be sharp on attack and defence," added Nienaber.

"They have proved in the last few seasons that they can beat any team, and with this being the opening game of the World Cup for both sides, they will be equally as charged up as us for the match."

South Africa: D Willemse, K Arendse, J Kriel, D de Allende, C Kolbe; M Libbok, F de Klerk; S Kitshoff, M Marx, F Malherbe, E Etzebeth, F Mostert, S Kolisi (capt), P du Toit, J Wiese.

Replacements: B Mbonambi, O Nche, T Nyakane, R Snyman, M van Staden, D Vermeulen, G Williams, W le Roux.

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