England v South Africa: Cheslin Kolbe returns for Rugby World Cup final

Cheslin Kolbe
Cheslin Kolbe only made his Springboks debut in September 2018 after converting to the 15-man format from sevens
Rugby World Cup final: England v South Africa
Venue: Yokohama International Stadium Date: Saturday, 2 November Kick-off: 09:00 GMT
Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Wing Cheslin Kolbe has recovered from an ankle injury to take his place in the South Africa side to face England in Saturday's Rugby World Cup final.

The 26-year-old, who was replaced by Sbu Nkosi for the Springboks' semi-final win, insists he is fully fit.

"I'll never go out on the field when I'm not 100%. That's just selfish as a player," said the Toulouse back.

Kolbe's inclusion is the only change to the Springbok starting XV that beat Wales in the last four.

Mbongeni Mbonambi retains his place at hooker ahead of Malcolm Marx, with Sale-bound Lood de Jager starting alongside Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard continue their half-back partnership with hard-running duo Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am in midfield.

Gloucester second row Franco Mostert and Bath flanker Francois Louw are among six forward replacements on the bench.

South Africa are aiming to become the first team to lift the William Webb Ellis Trophy after losing a match in the pool stages. The Springboks suffered a 23-13 loss to New Zealand, who England beat to make the final, in their opening match at the tournament.

Maro Itoje
England and South Africa have met four time during Erasmus' time in charge, with both sides winning two Tests apiece

Coach Rassie Erasmus admits his side are underdogs but believes they can be inspired by their two previous final appearances.

"We may not be favourites but these players will leave nothing in the tank. We know how the wins in 1995 and 2007 lifted the country - even if it was momentarily. We want to give South Africa that experience once again." he said.

"We have been developing some momentum through the tournament, which has come from consistency and although we know there are things we can do better this is a fit, well-practised set of combinations.

"There are not a lot of weaknesses in England. They are excellent in the line-outs, strong in the scrums, great at the breakdowns, strong ball carriers, speed on the wings, great aerially.

"It's going to be one or two moments in the game. We have to handle those moments and not give penalties away.

"When we get one or two opportunities, we have to get points. Unfortunately, England squeeze the life out of you, and we will have to handle that."

Erasmus confirmed that the match would "probably" be his last in charge of the team.

He has working as both the country's head coach and director of rugby at SA Rugby since March 2018 when he said he would oversee the team until the end of the World Cup in the wake of Allister Coetzee's departure.

"For me, it's an emotional one in the sense that I didn't think 25 Test matches will go that quickly," he said.

"It's wonderful to be here. It's sad that it's only three days, and then it is all over.

"But I will be heavily involved, hopefully, after this - whatever way we are going to go with the head coach."

South Africa: Le Roux; Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, De Klerk; Mtawarira, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, De Jager, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Vermeulen.

Replacements: Marx, Kitschoff, Koch, Snyman, Mostert, Louw, H Jantjies, Steyn

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