JOHANNESBURG – Sbu Nkosi has been drafted into the Springbok starting line-up for Sunday’s Rugby World Cup semifinal against Wales as the only change to the side that beat Japan in the quarterfinals.Nkosi replaces the inform Cheslin Kolbe who has not recovered sufficiently from the ankle injury he suffered against Canada and aggravated in the win over Japan.The 23-year-old Nkosi – who has scored eight tries in his 10 Test appearances – slots into the right-wing position as a direct replacement for Kolbe.“It’s disappointing not to have Cheslin available as he has been brilliant for us since we first called him up last year,” said Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby.“But we really rate Sbu and he will slot straight in. I am as excited to see what he can do as I would be if ‘Chessie’ were playing. Sbu has been very close to selection as it is.”Nkosi has made two appearances in the tournament, against Namibia and a try-scoring show against Canada.“We’ve been fortunate to have been able to be pretty consistent in the selection and we’ve built some nice momentum. Wales are the reigning Six Nations champions – as well as Grand Slam winners – and apart from three defeats in their Rugby World Cup warm-ups, they have put together a really good sequence of results”, said Erasmus.“But we’ve also found some rhythm and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”The Springbok 23 includes 10 players who appeared in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final victory over Wales four years ago in England (23-19), and nine who are making a second semifinal appearance after losing to eventual champions, New Zealand, four years ago.“We have been working hard for 18 months to put ourselves in a position to win the Rugby World Cup and that opportunity is now just 80 minutes away,” said Erasmus.“We can feel the excitement coming from back home in South Africa and how much success will mean to our country. We know we’re playing for South Africa; that this is bigger than an 80-minute game of rugby.”The winner will play the victor of the England v New Zealand semifinal in Yokohama on Saturday 2 November.
Injured Kolbe misses out on RWC semifinal as Nkosi gets the nod
Thursday 24 13:43