Rugby World Cup 2011: Springboks opt for experience

South Africa's 2011 World Cup squad
The South African squad has 10 players with 50 international caps or more

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has placed his faith in the core of the 2007 World Cup-winning squad for this year's tournament, starting next month.

Eighteen members of the previous squad have been chosen for New Zealand while 12 were in the starting XV when South Africa beat England in the 2007 final.

Flanker Francois Louw, who has not played for his country for more than a year, was one surprise inclusion.

And winger Odwa Ndungane got the nod over fellow Shark Lwazi Mvovo.

Louw, who was not used in the recent Tri-Nations series and seemed to have accepted his lot by signing for Bath for next season, was handed a lifeline following the withdrawal of Juan Smith.

Ndungane will now follow in the footsteps of his twin brother Akona, who was a member of the squad in France four years ago.

There was also a recall for veteran Ulster lock Johan Muller, who was to captain the side on the recent away leg of the Tri-Nations but withdrew because of injury.

Most attention ahead of the announcement was on who would be chosen as back-up to second-row pair Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield and to open-side flanker Heinrich Brussow, and it was Muller and Louw who got the nod.

Veteran flanker Schalk Burger was also included despite not having played since breaking his right thumb in July.

"The squad has a backbone of proven title-winning ability and experience as well as a strong component of new stars," De Villiers said in a statement.

"It has been a tough season to date and we have had some challenges with the amount of rugby the players have had to play but I'm very happy with the squad."

There are no uncapped players among the 30, which is likely to be one of the most experienced outfits in New Zealand: more than 10 players have passed 50 appearances, while Ruan Pienaar is just one short of his half-century.

South Africa open their title defence against Wales in Wellington on 11 September. Fiji, Samoa and rank outsiders Namibia complete a group from which the top-two finishers advance to the quarter-finals.


Forwards: (16)

Props: Tendai Mtawarira, Guthro Steenkamp, Jannie Du Plessis, CJ van der Linde. Hookers: Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, John Smit (captain). Locks: Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Johann Muller, Danie Rossouw. Back-rows: Pierre Spies, Willem Alberts, Heinrich Brussow, Schalk Burger, Francois Louw.

Backs: (14)

Full-backs/wings: Francois Steyn, Gio Aplon, Patrick Lambie, Bryan Habana, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen. Centres: Juan de Jongh, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers. Fly-halves: Butch James, Morne Steyn. Scrum-halves: Fourie du Preez, Francois Hougaard, Ruan Pienaar.