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Rudy Paige only uncapped player in seasoned South Africa squad

Published 28/08/2015

South Africa lock Victor Matfield has been selected to play in his fourth World Cup tournament
South Africa lock Victor Matfield has been selected to play in his fourth World Cup tournament

Scrum-half Rudy Paige is the solitary uncapped player named in South Africa's 31-man World Cup squad.

Paige lines up alongside the likes of cap centurions Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers, with centre De Villiers captaining the Springboks.

Lock Matfield and flanker Schalk Burger will take part in their fourth World Cup, but 16 of the squad have never previously played in rugby union's global showpiece.

The squad also includes Saracens hooker Schalk Brits, Bath flanker Francois Louw and Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar.

"Every single player in our wider group worked incredibly hard, and to cut the squad to 31 was probably the most difficult selection I've faced in my coaching career," Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer told www.sarugby.net.

"I think the squad has a great balance between youth and experience, while keeping together the core of the team that did the country proud in the last few years.

"We also have a number of players who know what it takes to win a World Cup, and their knowledge will be very valuable."

Louw (shoulder), De Villiers (fractured jaw), Duane Vermeulen (neck), Jannie du Plessis (knee), Fourie du Preez (knee), Willie le Roux (ankle) and Coenie Oosthuizen (neck) are all recovering from various injuries, but the Springboks say they are close to full match fitness.

"The best medical scenarios were taken into consideration with the selection process," Meyer added.

"Our medical team have worked incredibly hard with these players, and we're confident they will be ready to be considered to play Japan."

South Africa open their World Cup campaign against Japan in Brighton on September 19, while they also face pool appointments with Scotland, Samoa and the United States.

South Africa World Cup squad: Backs - W le Roux, Z Kirchner, L Mvovo, J P Pietersen, B Habana, J de Villiers (capt), D de Allende, J Kriel, P Lambie, H Pollard, M Steyn, F du Preez, R Pienaar, R Paige.

Forwards - J du Plessis, F Malherbe, T Mtawarira, T Nyakane, C Oosthuizen, S Brits, B du Plessis, A Strauss, L de Jager, P-S du Toit, E Etzebeth, V Matfield, W Alberts, S Burger, S Kolisi, F Louw, D Vermuelen.

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