Nkosi replaces Kolbe in only change for Springboks SF squad

TOKYO (AP) — Sbu Nkosi has replaced injured flyer Cheslin Kolbe in the only change to South Africa's starting lineup for Sunday's Rugby World Cup semifinal against Wales.

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus said Kolbe hasn't recovered from an ankle injury, and it had an impact on his performance in the 26-3 quarterfinal win over Japan last weekend.

"It's disappointing not to have Cheslin available as he has been brilliant for us," Erasmus said. "But we really rate Sbu and he will slot straight in. I am as excited to see what he can do as I would be if 'Chessie' were playing."

Nkosi has 10 test caps and will move into the right wing as a direct replacement for Kolbe in the only change to the 23-man squad.

"We've been fortunate to have been able to be pretty consistent in selection and we've built some nice momentum," Erasmus said. "But the challenge just got a lot tougher.

"Wales are the reigning Six Nations champions and, apart from three defeats in their Rugby World Cup warm-ups, have put together a really good sequence of results."

The Springboks squad contains 10 players involved in the quarterfinal win over Wales in 2015, and nine who are making a second semifinal appearance after losing to New Zealand four years ago.

"We have been working hard for 18 months to put ourselves in a position to win the Rugby World Cup and that opportunity is now just 80 minutes away," Erasmus said. "These players have worked with unbelievable energy to get Springbok rugby back into this position."

Wales has won the four tests between the teams since the last World Cup, but Erasmus said he has a full squad to select from and has full confidence of ending that streak.


South Africa: Willie le Roux, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn.


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