Springboks

Springboks call up Damian Willemse

Kriel suffered a hamstring injury in the team's opening Pool B defeat to New Zealand and it has now been deemed he will not recover to feature in the group stage, prompting a switch with Willemse.

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said: "Damian would have been more involved with us this year but for injury. He is familiar with our systems and should have no problem slotting in."

He added: "I feel for Jesse. He has been in the matchday 23 for almost every match since I took over and is a model professional. He was a key member of the squad."

Springboks unchanged for All Blacks

Coach Rassie Erasmus will stick with the same XV and eight replacements that saw off hosts Japan 41-7 in a warm-up game two weeks ago.

It represents the first time the Springboks have stuck with the same side since the 2015 World Cup semi-final, which New Zealand edged 20-18 at Twickenham, while number eight Duane Vermeulen will win his 50th Test cap.

The only alteration from the team that played out a 16-16 Rugby Championship draw against the All Blacks in Wellington in July is fit-again captain Siya Kolisi starting at openside flanker in place of Kwagga Smith.

Habana optimistic about Springboks

Former Stormers and Munster boss Erasmus in March 2018 took over from Allister Coetzee, whose dismal spell at the helm included 11 wins in 25 Tests and the Springboks' heaviest loss – a 57-0 drubbing at the hands of New Zealand in the 2017 Rugby Championship.

Coetzee was appointed in 2016 and in his first year suffered eight defeats in 12 Tests.

Although Erasmus lost his first match at the helm, he engineered a series success against England and ended a nine-year wait for an away victory against New Zealand in 2018.

Springboks want a strong effort from match officials

The Boks have previously felt they have not always got the rub of the green from the officials in clashes with the world champions, especially in areas such as the breakdown and scrum.

With only two points separating the sides on aggregate in their last four matches, it suggests fine margins could decide the Pool B opener.

"Hopefully the match officials will respect the game because if you look at the way things are between us and New Zealand, I think we're more balanced now," Stick said.

Etzebeth makes Springboks World Cup squad

The Springbok group was cut from 32 players to 31 for the upcoming finals and the squad reveal had threatened to be marred by social media allegations of an incident involving the lock.

However, responding to the reports, Etzebeth provided a categorical denial - and the South African Rugby United (SARU) insisted it will stand by its man unless further informed by authorities.

Springboks hooker Scarra Ntubeni apologises after slapping ball from ball boy's hands

A week after making his test debut against Argentina, the Western Province rake was roundly castigated for his petulance in Western Province's match against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

The 28-year-old slapped the ball away as the ball boy presented it to him before Ntubeni threw to a lineout with Western Province leading 33-19.

His mood was hardly improved as his side crashed to a 38-33 defeat and missed a Currie Cup semifinals berth.

Kolisi to make Springboks return

The flanker played no part as the Springboks won the Rugby Championship for the first time in a decade due to a knee injury.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus on Monday revealed Kolisi will feature against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this weekend.

"He is a guy we desperately want to be involved on Saturday and we will involve him, but it will be limited minutes," said Erasmus.

"We won't rush him – we need to carefully manage his return."

Prepare for fiery All Blacks-Springbok clash

The tactical cat and mouse that comes with most lead-in Tests to the showpiece tournament in Japan won't apply on Saturday at Westpac Stadium as the two heavyweights get set to field teams at close to full strength.

Hanging over the contest is last year's result at the same venue which the Springboks won 36-34.

Retallick says there's no way he could forget that result, one of just four losses he has experienced in his 76 tests in an All Blacks jersey.

Springbok test no guide to World Cup

The Rugby Championship Test in Wellington on Saturday is the only meeting of the old rivals ahead of their clash in Yokohama on September 21st, a match that should set the World Cup alight on day two of the tournament.

Hansen says both teams are in a building process and plenty can happen in two months, stripping this week's match of a bragging rights element.

"I guess it will give whoever wins it a little confidence going in to the World Cup, but it won't mean whoever wins this one will automatically win the one in the World Cup," he said.

Blitzboks to wear Mandela-inspired jersey in Cape Town

South Africa are holding centenary celebrations for the life of the inspirational former prisoner and president, who would have turned 100 years in 2018. Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013.

The Blitzboks sevens side will wear Madiba-style jerseys at their home tournament in Cape Town, in the second leg of the men’s World Sevens Series.

The jersey’s green-and-gold design is reportedly inspired by the “intricately patterned shirts Madiba was famous for wearing”, along with Proteas and Springboks.