With the 2011 Rugby World Cup just around the corner, Springbok fans are hoping that the team can go to New Zealand and successfully defend their World Cup crown. The Boks had a disappointing Tri-Nations tournament but managed to get a solid win over the All Blacks last weekend, giving the team some much needed momentum and confidence going into the World Cup.

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After lots of experimenting with different players and combinations, the Springbok squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup has been announced. And here it is:

Forwards:

John Smit (Captain), Victor Matfield (Vice-captain), Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, Gurthro Steenkamp, , Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Jannie du Plessis, CJ van der Linde, Bakkies Botha, Johann Muller, Danie Rossouw, Willem Alberts, Schalk Burger, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Louw, Pierre Spies

Backs:

Fourie du Preez, Francois Hougaard, Ruan Pienaar, Morne Steyn, Butch James, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Francois Steyn, Patrick Lambie

South Africa will face tough competition in the World Cup pool stages from the likes of Wales, Samoa and Fiji. The other team in Pool D is Namibia.

Here are South Africa’s pool fixtures for the 2011 Rugby World Cup:

  • 11 September 2011: South Africa vs Wales
    Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington – 10h30 SA time
  • 17 September 2011: South Africa vs Fiji
    Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington – 08h00 SA time
  • 22 September 2011: South Africa vs Namibia
    North Harbour Stadium, Auckland – 10h00 SA time
  • 30 September 2011: South Africa vs Samoa
    North Harbour Stadium, Auckland – 09h30 SA time

For the full list of 2011 Rugby World Cup fixtures, click here.

If all goes according to plan, the Springboks are likely to face New Zealand in the semi-finals. What a match that would be. Many are saying that is a final in itself and the winner would be favourites to take the title. I think we can make the semi-finals and then it’s down to the best team on the day.

With the time difference, expect to see the games in the mornings here in South Africa. It’s going to be an exciting six weeks of rugby. Go Bokke!