Springboks lose Alberts to injury

‘Nobody has hit better than me this week’ – Koepka on his ball-striking during third round

Springbok loose forward Willem Alberts has been withdrawn from Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opening game against Japan in Brighton after injuring his calf during the captain’s run.

Pieter-Steph du Toit will start in the number seven jersey with his place on the bench going to Eben Etzebeth.

“Willem felt some discomfort during the captain’s run and we took him out of the session as a precautionary measure,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

“We reassessed him again this morning and decided it would be better to withdraw him from the team.”

As a result of Alberts’ withdrawal, the starting team now only has a combined total of 851 Test caps.

It is still more than the previous most experienced Springbok side (836 caps), which played in South Africa’s last Rugby World Cup match against Australia in Wellington, New Zealand in 2011.

South Africa (revised): 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 JP Pietersen.

Date: Saturday, September 16

Venue: Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton

Kick-off: 16:45 local 

Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)

Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)

TMO: Graham Hughes (England)