World Cup Watch: Kolisi included in South Africa squad

Siya Kolisi

The news isn’t as positive for three other big names with first five-eighths Handre Pollard (calf injury), centre Lukhanyo Am (knee) and lock Lood de Jager (chest problem) all missing selection. Their best chance of making it to the tournament in France is if injuries open a space for them.

As a result, the Springboks have named only one specialist first five-eighths, Manie Libbok, while utility Damian Willemse will cover the position.

Four halfbacks have been included but Hershel Jantjies is not one of them. Faf de Klerk, Cobus Rainach, Jaden Hendrikse and Grant Williams have made the side.

Siya Kolisi makes a welcome return and is expected to play in their warm-up game with Wales in a fortnight.

Former Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said Kolisi would face a battle to be the leader on the field after being out for so long and could be more of a captain of the squad than an on-field leader.

He said that made the loss of Pollard and Am all the more crucial because they were leaders among the backs.

De Villiers said the depth in the side created another problem.

"That could be our biggest weakness. I am not sure we know who are the best team."

Taine Plumtree hasn't taken long to make an impact in Wales. He arrived in July after Super Rugby Pacific ended to play for Llanelli's Scartlets and last weekend made his Test debut in a friendly against England which Wales won 20-9.

A New Zealand Under-20 representative, Plumtree's effort was good enough to see him regarded as a potential starter for Wales in the return game at Twickenham at the weekend.

Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins told the BBC, "Taine has been very good. He's a great guy to have around the squad and he can play.

"He's a talent and an athlete. He understands the game and he played pretty well when he came on on Saturday.

"We'll see if he gets another opportunity in the coming weeks, but he's a good player. He said to most of the guys he was pretty nervous before coming out to Switzerland [for a Wales training camp] and not knowing anyone. He's certainly found his feet and he gets on with the guys.

"He's a great member of the squad both on and off the pitch. He's made a positive impact for us."

More than half of Fiji's side for the Rugby World Cup were involved for the Fijian Drua in this year's Super Rugby Pacific competition.

Coach Simon Raiwalui said the experience of playing against top teams from New Zealand and Australia had raised Fiji's standards.

"The Drua boys being able to play Super Rugby has been a great opportunity for us and Fiji Rugby. It shows it's [the Drua] working. We are in the second year of the Drua and we're going to get better."

They have warm-up games against France and England before the Cup but will go into those games with recent wins over Japan, Tonga and Samoa.

Fiji are in a pool with Wales, Australia, Georgia and Portugal.


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