Rugby World Cup 2023 Match Preview: South Africa v Tonga

Handré Pollard begins at 10 against Tonga on Sunday in Marseille after being recalled to the South African team as a result of Malcolm Marx’s Rugby World Cup-ending injury. This is the first Springbok cap for Pollard since August 2022.

After the Springboks’ 13-8 loss to Ireland, there have been 12 personnel changes made to the starting lineup. Only second-row Eben Etzebeth, captain Siya Kolisi, who is leading the Springboks for the 50th time, and number eight Jasper Wiese have kept their positions in the pack, while the entire backline has been altered.

For the first time since November 2018 against France and for the third time in his 72-cap career, Duane Vermeulen, a number eight by trade, starts at openside.

Following Vaea Fifita’s four-game suspension, Semisi Paea fills in at number eight for Tonga in a starting XV that features three changes from the one that lost to Scotland the last time around as coach Toutai Kefu looks for the ideal combinations to unleash his team’s attacking ability. Anzelo Tuitavuki, making his Rugby World Cup debut on the left, and Fine Inisi, starting on the right, are the other two changes he’s made.



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