Rugby World Cup 2023: South Africa make 14 changes for Romania game

Damian Willemse runs with the ball
Damian Willemse is the only South African to retain his place in the starting XV as he moves from full-back to fly-half

Rugby World Cup 2023: South Africa v Romania

Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux Date: Sunday, 17 September Kick-off: 14:00 BST

Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra & BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Holders South Africa have named four recognised scrum-halves in their squad to face Romania in their World Cup meeting in Pool B.

Cobus Reinach wears the number nine shirt as the Springboks make 14 changes to the side which beat Scotland in the opening game of their title defence.

Grant Williams is also usually deployed at scrum-half but has been named on the wing.

Jaden Hendrikse and Faf de Klerk, who can cover fly-half, are on the bench.

Damian Willemse, who switches from full-back to fly-half, is the only man to retain his spot in the starting XV.

"People were surprised when we picked four scrum-halves in the squad but we knew they offered us the skills and versatility to provide backline options to manage the challenges that tournament rugby gives you," said head coach Jacques Nienaber.

"We have been rotating and testing players in different positions since last season to put us in the fortunate position to have a group of 33 players in France that are closely matched in terms of their quality of play and skills."

Lock Jean Kleyn makes his fifth Springboks appearance, four years after representing Ireland in the last World Cup, while hooker Bongi Mbonambi will take over the captaincy from Siya Kolisi.

It will be just the second meeting between the two teams since the Boks won the 1995 World Cup on home soil.

Romania opened the scoring in their opening game with Ireland before going on to lose 82-8.

South Africa team to face Romania: Le Roux; Williams, Moodie, Esterhuizen, Mapimpi; Willemse, Reinach; Nche, Mbonambi (capt), Koch, Kleyn, Orie, Van Staden, Smith, Vermeulen.

Replacements: Fourie, Kitshoff, Nyakane, Snyman, Wiese, Hendrikse, De Klerk, Kriel.

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