Springboks to back young star and Munster pair for World Cup opener – report

Jared Wright
Springboks back Canan Moodie and lock RG Snyman during South Africa's Rugby World Cup warm-up matches.

Springboks back Canan Moodie and lock RG Snyman during South Africa's Rugby World Cup warm-up matches.

The Springboks are set to back young star Canan Moodie as they kick off their Rugby World Cup defence against Scotland.

Moodie produced a standout performance against the All Blacks at Twickenham, which has reportedly earned him the backing of the coaching staff for their important Pool B opener.

Moodie to start against Scotland

According to South African newspaper, the Rapport, Moodie will shift from outside centre – where he started against New Zealand – to the wing.

The 20-year-old is the youngest player in the Springbok squad but has impressed the Bok coaches enough to earn a start ahead of 2019 Rugby World Cup star Makazole Mapimpi.

At the start of the year, Moodie was tipped as an outside bet to make the final 33-man squad for the World Cup but now looks set to be given the responsibility of starting the first game of the tournament.

While Andre Esterhuizen and Moodie starred in the 35-7 thrashing of the All Blacks in South Africa’s final warm-up match, the report states that Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel are set to be reinstated as the starting centres.

The pair were in stellar form as they guided the Boks to a 52-16 victory over Wales in their penultimate preparation match in Cardiff. The experienced centres would combine in the midfield for the 24th time if selected against Scotland.

Moodie is set have the challenging task of marking Scotland’s in-form try scorer, Duhan van der Merwe, as he is set to be named on the right wing, with Cheslin Kolbe on the left – the same positions they featured in against Wales.

 

Munster pair given key roles off the bench

While Jacques Nienaber is set to tinker with his backline again, one element of their bench will likely remain the same.

The report adds that Munster pair Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman will be named as part of a 6-2 split on the bench for South Africa.

During the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the Boks ‘Bomb Squad’ featured six forwards, two of which were locks, and look set to revert to that tactic four years later.

Snyman has had a torrid time with injuries since the 2019 tournament, and while the Boks have named benches with two locks since, it has been few and far between, with two loose forwards favoured instead.

However, the duo impressed off the bench against the All Blacks and are likely to continue that combination against the Scots.

If this is the case, then Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert are set to be the starting locks for the Springboks, with Marvin Orie missing out on the matchday 23.

READ MORE: Rugby World Cup Pool B preview: Squads, fixtures, star players and more