Fourie du Preez
Cape Town - Injury and rehabilitation ensured that he played no part in the Springboks' pre-tournament internationals, but Fourie du Preez is back.
And nobody is happier about that than Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, who on Thursday named the 2007 World Cup-winning scrumhalf on his substitutes bench for Saturday's clash against Japan in Brighton.
Ruan Pienaar will start the match, but it is hard to see Meyer leaving Du Preez out of the starting XV come the business end of the tournament.
"He’s (Du Preez) a world class player. Slowly but surely he’s getting there," Meyer said of the 33-year-old.
"He’s been superb in training this week. His confidence is there and he just needs game time now. Again, it’s better bringing him from the bench."
Meyer paid tribute to the work done by Pienaar throughout the Rugby Championship, but added that Du Preez was going to play a major role in the Boks' World Cup charge.
"Ruan has done well and like I said (I wanted) some continuity in the backline," said Meyer.
"But I’ve always believed Fourie is probably the best scrumhalf in the world and he’s shown some great touches this last week or two.
"He’s a main guy in our campaign and we need him going (forward). I think he’s going to have a great campaign and it’s great to see him back, hopefully he’ll get 10 or 20 minutes from the bench."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:45.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 JP Pietersen