Matfield to lead 'Boks against Samoa

by Staff Writer

Victor Matfield will captain the Springbok team to play Samoa in the deciding Rugby World Cup Pool D clash at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland on Friday.

Matfield returns from a hamstring strain – after a two-match absence – as one of seven changes to the team that defeated Namibia 87-0 at the same venue on Thursday.

He assumes the captaincy in place of John Smit, who drops to the bench, in a pre-planned move to allow Bismarck du Plessis to start his first match of the tournament.

The Springboks need at least one point from the match to be sure of qualifying for the quarterfinals.

There are five changes in the pack as Du Plessis is partnered with the returning Tendai Mtawarira and brother Jannie du Plessis in an all-Sharks front row. The final change among the forwards sees the return of Heinrich Brüssow to the back row.

Bakkies Botha was unavailable for selection after injuring a hamstring against Namibia but the remaining four forwards (Smit, CJ van der Linde, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Willem Alberts) all drop to the bench.

JP Pietersen and Fourie du Preez return to the starting line-up among the back division while the versatile Francois Hougaard drops to the bench where he is joined by the fit-again Jean de Villiers as the two backline replacements in a 5/2 split on the bench.

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