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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Tom Sunderland

South Africa recall Handre Pollard for Rugby World Cup final rematch against England

The big guns are back for South Africa ahead of Saturday's highly anticipated Test against England, with Handre Pollard's return at fly half the most notable of three changes to the team.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber has assembled what appears to be his strongest possible line-up as the Springboks close their autumn tour with a rematch of their 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

South Africa emerged as 32-12 victors two years ago in Japan, although the Webb Ellis Cup-holders haven't won at Twickenham since November 2014.

Pollard—who dazzled that day in Yokohama to bring South Africa a joint-record third World Cup crown—has replaced Elton Jantjies at fly-half, while Franco Mostert makes way for Sale Sharks lock Lood de Jager.

Fly-half Handre Pollard is back in South Africa's XV to face England after he was rotated to the bench against Scotland (Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Elton's younger brother, Herschel, has also moved to the bench in place of Cobus Reinach, who will resume his half-back partnership with Montpellier team-mate Reinach.

“England have made it clear that they’ll come hard at us in this match, and with a few British and Irish Lions players in their midst, home ground advantage and a new record of eight wins in a row against Australia adding to their motivation this weekend, so we know it will be a hard grind,” said Nienaber on Tuesday.

“That said, we will enter the match equally motivated, especially with the opportunity to retain our status as the top team in the world for a third successive season and winning all three matches in the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour for the first time in eight years being a real prospect.

"This has been arguably the most challenging season for a Springbok team yet due to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to finish off the year with a victory against England would be a fantastic reward for the team.”

Do you think England will get their revenge over South Africa at Twickenham? Let us know in the comments section.

Springbok winger Makazole Mapimpi scored twice in last week's 30-15 win over South Africa (Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The Springboks are still without star scrum-half Faf de Klerk and winger Cheslin Kolbe as centre Jesse Kriel prepares to continue his duties as a makeshift replacement out wide.

Nienaber's side are hoping to conclude their autumn tour with three wins from three, having defeated Scotland 30-15 this past Saturday following their 23-18 win over Wales one week prior.

England head coach Eddie Jones has some tough decisions to make after captain Owen Farrell and hooker Jamie George withdrew from the squad on Monday.

England captain Owen Farrell has been ruled out of Saturday's Test against South Africa due to an ankle injury (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Saracens duo each came off injured in Saturday's 32-15 triumph over Australia, though that scoreline flattered the Red Rose following what was a tetchy display.

England won seven straight meetings with South Africa between 2000 and 2006, but they've managed to emerge victorious in only three of their 18 encounters since then.

South Africa team to face England

(Backs) Willie le Roux; Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach; (Forwards) Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane; Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager; Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen

Reps: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn

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