Boks go with 5/2 bench split

The Springboks have named the most experienced team in their history for the opening match of Rugby World Cup 2011 against Wales in Wellington on Sunday. The team contains a total of 815 caps – narrowly surpassing the 810 caps of the team that played Australia in Durban in August.

Coach Peter de Villiers recalled captain John Smit, loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira, looseforward Schalk Burger, and fullback Frans Steyn while Danie Rossouw replaced Bakkies Botha – unavailable because of an Achilles heel condition – in the five changes to the team that defeated New Zealand 18-5 in Port Elizabeth last month.

De Villiers named five forwards on the bench with Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Willem Alberts dropping out of the starting line-up while Ulster-based lock Johann Muller could make his first appearance since the third test against the British & Irish Lions in 2009.

The 22 contains 16 players who were part of the victorious 2007 squad, with 11 in the starting 15.

South Africa v Wales, 11 September 2011, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington

Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger, Heinrich Brüssow, Victor Matfield, Dannie Rossouw, Jannie du Plessis, John Smit (k), Beast Mtawarira.

Bench: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Johann Muller, Willem Alberts, Francois Hougaard, Butch James.