Cheslin Kolbe returns for South Africa for Rugby World Cup final

Rassie Erasmus had made one change to the Springboks match-day squad for their Rugby World Cup final with England.

Cheslin Kolbe, who sat out the semi-final with an ankle injury, has recovered in time for his nation’s shot at a third title.

The South Africans will enter the final with history on their side; they’ve never lost a World Cup final.

England, by contrast, fell to South Africa in 2007 – the last time the two teams met in a World Cup.

Erasmus was candid during the week and suggested that the Springboks were unlikely to deviate from the tactics that won them their semi-final with Wales.

“The big thing is that we’ve got only 160 minutes of training – 60 minutes of team training, 40-60 minutes of split training between the forwards and backs,” Erasmus said. “So, we’ve got two days of training sessions, so not a lot will change.

“I guess you can expect very much the same from us on Saturday.”

That means plenty of box kicks from halfback Faf de Klerk, who has been one of the Springboks’ best in 2019.

Erasmus and his charges have had plenty of experience playing England over the last few seasons and should have some idea of what to expect in the final.

“We’ve played England four times in the last two years, and score is 2-2. The last test match that we played was a very close test at Twickenham. I know both teams have definitely improved since then.

“What I do expect on the field is a very well-coached England team. A fit England team with a great tactical plan, and then obviously the physicality that England brought to New Zealand was just next level last Saturday.

“It’s been a long time since I saw an England team pitch up with that amount of physicality. They must be brimming with confidence, and I’m sure they are ready to bring that same intensity. We will have to be really up to try and match that.

“They definitely put teams under a lot of pressure defensively, with their line-speed – obviously, John Mitchell has got a lot to do with that.”

Captain Siya Kolisi will run out for his 50th Test cap in the final, which kicks off at 6pm JST from Yokohama Stadium on Saturday.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (c), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Stephen Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn.