Bulls captain Victor Matfield

South Africa’s starting XV for the Pool D match against Wales on Sunday is the most experienced line-up ever named in the history of the sport.

The 15 players combine for 815 caps, breaking the record which the Springboks set against Australia a month ago when their starting XV totalled 810 caps between them.

Nine of the 15 starters against Wales played in the victorious final of Rugby World Cup 2007. Those nine players are captain John Smit, Danie Rossouw, Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Fourie Du Preez, Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie, JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn. Two other starters from that final – CJ van der Linde and Butch James are named on the bench against the Welsh.

At 34, Victor Matfield will be the second oldest player to appear in a Rugy World Cup match for South Africa. Only prop Os Du Randt, a mainstay of the 2007 success, was older than Matfield. Du Randt holds the South African record at 35 years and 42 days old, achieving this in the 2007 final.

Coach Pieter de Villiers has dropped five players from the starting XV from South Africa’s last match, the 18-5 win against the All Blacks three weeks ago. Tendai Mtawarira and John Smit replace Gürthro Steenkamp and Bismarck Du Plessis in the front row, Danie Rossouw comes in for the injured Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger returns at openside flanker in place of Willem Alberts and Frans Steyn replaces Patrick Lambie at full back.
South Africa

1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. John Smit (c)
3. Jannie Du Plessis
4. Danie Rossouw
5. Victor Matfield
6. Heinrich Brüssow
7. Schalk Burger
8. Pierre Spies
9. Fourie Du Preez
10. Morné Steyn
11. Bryan Habana
12. Jean De Villiers
13. Jaque Fourie
14. JP Pietersen
15. Frans Steyn


16. Bismarck Du Plessis
17. Gurthrö Steenkamp
18. CJ van der Linde
19. Johan Muller
20. Willem Alberts
21. Francois Hougaard
22. Butch James