South Africa named 18 members of its 2007 Rugby World Cup championship squad to its 30-man roster for this year’s tournament in New Zealand.
Captain John Smit will be joined by 11 other starters from the 15-6 victory over England in the 2007 final in Paris. Smit is one of six players who will be making their third World Cup appearances.
“This squad has the experience and ability to make a strong challenge for the title, but we know it will be very difficult,” Springboks coach Peter de Villiers said in a statement. “It’s has been a tough season to date and we have had some challenges with the amount of rugby the players had have to play, but I’m very happy with the squad.”
South Africa opens its title defense Sept. 11 against Wales, before playing Fiji, Namibia and Samoa. The Springboks will be seeking a record third World Cup title and have lost just two of their past 24 matches at rugby’s four-yearly championship.
SOUTH AFRICA WORLD CUP SQUAD: John Smit (captain), Willem Alberts, Gio Aplon, Bakkies Botha, Heinrich Brussow, Schalk Burger, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Butch James, Pat Lambie, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Tendai Mtawarira, Johann Muller, Odwa Ndungane, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies, Gurthro Steenkamp, Frans Steyn, Morne Steyn, CJ van der Linde.