France 2023 Rugby World Cup Odds
Pool B Winner
South Africa Squad & Reaction
Steven Kitshoff (Ulster), Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Jean Kleyn (Munster), Marvin Orie (Perpignan), RG Snyman (Munster), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (capt, Racing 92), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby), Jasper Wiese (Leicester), Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat).
Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks)
Coming into the naming of the squad, the big question was surrounding the health of Kolisi. The captain has not played since an ACL injury in April, an injury that normally takes far more time than this to recover from. Clearly, the signs are good, however, with Kolisi being named in the squad.
That meant that the big surprise was the omission of De Jager through injury. However, this isn’t the end of the road for Lood and his hopes of featuring in the 2023 World Cup. He has been placed on the standby list along with eight others – including two key backs – and this means he will likely find his way into the squad at some point during the tournament.
This is a heavy, mean, and strong pack that will only be better if Kolisi can make it through the remaining warmup games in a way that suggests he can be a significant part of the Worl Cup bid, even if just in the latter stages of the tournament.
Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles ), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks), Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers), Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath), Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls).
Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers), Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks)
There is more to take in here than with the forwards. Pollard and Am are both huge absentees, albeit with the caveat they will likely be back for the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Am is the best at what he does in the world, but there is hope his knee injury is on the week-to-week scale instead of months out. Pollard hasn’t played enough rugby, with his withdrawal right before the Premiership Final being the last we saw of him on the pitch. He is still the ‘Boks first choice 10, and that is a position of worry with Manie Libbok as the only specialist pivot in the squad.
There is also a really weird balance at No. 9, with the ‘Boks taking four scrum halves to France. It would make sense that one of Faf de Klerk, Grant Williams, Cobus Reinach, and Jaden Hendrikse eventually leaves the squad for Am or Pollard to return, so the three that aren’t named Faf will have to make every rep count in practice, and in matches to prove they are worthy of their spot.
Overall this is a solid squad. The front five looks especially hard, while plenty of options are in the back row. The wing is also interesting, with Canan Moodie bolting into the squad late alongside the mercurial Cheslin Kolbe, the try machine Kurt-Lee Arendse, and veteran Makazole Mapimpi.