June 18, 2024

Springboks selects Canan Moodie at outside centre against All Blacks

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has made a brave selection by including winger Canan Moodie in his starting lineup for the final warm-up game before the kick-off of the Rugby World Cup against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Friday.

The 22-year-old replaces Jesse Kriel in the 13-jersey and forms a new combination in the midfield with Andre Esterhuizen at 12 replacing Damian de Allende.

Nienaber has made eight personnel changes – and one positional switch – to the side that demolished Wales 52-16 in Cardiff over the weekend as he continues to fine tune his preparations for the opening Rugby World Cup clash against Scotland in just under three weeks.

He retained five of the pack that defeated Wales (52-16) on Saturday in a front row of Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe (props) and hooker Malcolm Marx, as well as loose forwards Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Flyhalf Manie Libbok  starts again with Faf de Klerk resuming at scrumhalf in a new halfback pairing, while there are new combinations elsewhere as Nienaber continued to carefully manage game time among the squad.

There is a new lock pairing of Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert, while veteran No 8 Duane Vermeulen starts in the back row (after coming off the bench in Cardiff).

Makazole Mapimpi and Kurt-Lee Arendse are named on the left and right wings respectively, with Damian Willemse starting at fullback. Moodie makes a first Test start at outside centre in a midfield combination with Andre Esterhuizen.

The Bok coach again opted for a split of six forwards and two backs on the bench, where locks Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman and prop Trevor Nyakane will provide an impact alongside Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Ox Nche (prop), and Marco van Staden (flanker). Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and fullback Willie le Roux, meanwhile, will provide backline cover.

“The All Blacks will provide a different challenge to Wales, and we believe this group of players is the right mix for this match,” said Nienaber.

“New Zealand play a high-tempo game, and they turn on the intensity from the starting whistle as they showed in Auckland, so it’s vital that we start well this week.

“We took the lessons from that match, and we’ve built good momentum since, so this will be a fantastic test before we enter our Rugby World Cup campaign.”

Commenting on the changes to the team, Nienaber said: “Our objective since the beginning of the season was to strike a balance between performance and managing player load with only six Test matches to get ready for the World Cup, and we are pleased with the way we have developed in that regard.

“In the last five matches we’ve given everyone, with the exception of the injured players, valuable game time, which is vital going into the World Cup, and we are satisfied with the way we have been building as a team.”

Nienaber expected a massive battle against their arch-rivals in front of a crowd of more than 80 000 at Twickenham and said: “The rivalry between the Springboks and All Blacks is one of the most intense in world rugby, so it’s a great way for us to wrap up our warm-up matches before heading to France for the World Cup.

“This match may be on neutral ground, but we expect it to be as epic as every other Test between the teams. They are a quality team with several playmakers and physical forwards, and they’ll give everything on Friday.

“We know what to expect and what we need to do to work our way into a position to get the desired result, so as a team we need to be ready mentally and physically.”

Springbok team to face New Zealand in London: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Marco van Staden, 22 Cobus Reinach, 23 Willie le Roux.

Springbok record against New Zealand:

Played 104, Lost 62, Won 38, Drawn 4. Points for 2 178, Points against: 1 694. Tries scored 160, Tries conceded 234. Highest score 46-40, Biggest win 17 points (17-0 in 1928). Win %: 37%.


  • South Africa and New Zealand have only faced another once at Twickenham in 2015 – a match the All Blacks by two points (20-18).
  • Canan Moodie will start his first Test for the Springboks at centre.
  • Siya Kolisi needs to score one more try to reach 10 Test tries and 50 points.
  • Malcolm Marx needs one try to become the sole record holder for the most Test tries by a Springbok forward – he currently shares the record with Schalk Burger.


  • The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 746.
  • There are 155 caps in the backline, with 591 caps among the forwards. On the bench there are a further 298 caps.
  • The average caps per player in the backline is 22, the forwards 73, while the players on the bench average 37.


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