Three players will be attending their third Rugby World Cup – Frans Steyn, Tendai Mtawarira and Francois Louw – while a further 12 players will get their second taste of a Rugby World Cup. See the full squad by clicking here.
There are five players with more than 50 caps – Eben Etzebeth, Willie le Roux, Louw, Steyn and Mtawarira – the latter being the most experienced played in the squad with 110 caps. These players will provide a spine of experience.
“I am very happy with the squad we have been able to select” said Erasmus.
“We have been developing this squad since the start of last season and in the 31 we have a good balance of established experience and some exciting youth.
“We set out with the goal of growing the depth of the squad and I am confident that any of this 31 can step into a play-off match at the Rugby World Cup and deliver an outstanding performance.”
Erasmus said the Boks had been working towards finalising the 31-man squad for Japan for the best part of two years.
“We’ve been lucky in achieving most of our goals this season – we’ve been able to give everyone in the squad some good game time as well as develop combinations with squad rotation and not lose momentum as we go to the World Cup,” said Erasmus.
“But the results and performances up to now will mean nothing once we are in Japan. It is a case of back to square one; putting in the work on the training field and in the planning sessions to build on what we have achieved.”
The Springboks open their Rugby World Cup campaign against New Zealand in Yokohama on Saturday, 21 September before further Pool B matches against Namibia (28 September), Italy (4 October) and Canada (8 October).
“We have planned and trained to be competitive at the Rugby World Cup and the work we have done and the performances to date this year have put us into a good space,” said Erasmus.
“Rugby World Cups are usually decided by small margins – a foot in touch here or a referee’s call there – but we have a very good squad that has grown into a tight unit over the past few months and we have definitely grown stronger together.
“I’m sure I speak for the squad when I say we can’t wait for the games to begin.”