Cape Town - The World 15 have named five Rugby World Cup
winners in their starting line-up, alongside several more pushing hard for
inclusion in this year’s tournament.
Andrew Ellis, Andrew Hore, Ali Williams and Adam Thomson
lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy for New Zealand in 2011, while captain Bakkies
Botha was victorious with South Africa in 2007.
No 8 Pierre Spies is the other former Springbok to feature
in the side to tackle Japan at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in
Tokyo on Saturday.
The above-mentioned players are joined by an Australian contingent who will be out
to impress coach Michael Cheika as he finalises his squad ahead of next month’s
global contest in England.
The likes of James O’Connor, Christian Lealiifano, Nick
Cummins, Sean McMahon and uncapped wing Taqele Naiyaravoro are all involved
against a Japan team ranked No 15 in the world under the guidance of Eddie
World 15 coach Robbie Deans wants the veterans to finish
their careers on a high while enhancing the chances of their team-mates to
compete on rugby's biggest stage.
“We’ve got a limited amount of time to prepare against a
side who have been together for a long time but these are high quality players
who have an opportunity to enhance their reputations,” said Deans, who coaches
Japanese Top League side Panasonic Wild Knights.
“There are players who have won World Cups at the end of
their careers and players pushing for places in very competitive national
squads with the clock ticking. For both groups there is something at stake.
“Japan have a settled side and will bring a lot of energy to
the match before they head to the World Cup. It should be a great game and we
want to give them a really thorough test.”
Botha led the World 15 against South Africa last month and
with 85 international appearances is the most experienced Test player in a
starting line-up boasting 617 caps.
World 15 team:
15 James O’Connor (Reds & Australia), 14 Taqele
Naiyaravoro (Glasgow Warriors), 13 Ben Tapuai (Force & Australia), 12 Christian
Lealiifano (Brumbies & Australia), 11 Nick Cummins (Western Force &
Australia), 10 Berrick Barnes (Panasonic Wild Knights & Australia), 9 Andy
Ellis (Kobelco Steelers & New Zealand), 8 Pierre Spies (Kintetsu Liners, Montpellier
& South Africa), 7 Liam Gill (Reds & Australia), 6 Adam Thomson (Reds
& New Zealand), 5 Ali Williams (Unattached & New Zealand), 4 Bakkies
Botha (Unattached & South Africa, captain), 3 Carl Hayman (Unattached &
New Zealand), 2 Andrew Hore (Unattached & New Zealand), 1 Benn Robinson
(Waratahs & Australia)
Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu (Waratahs), 17 Ben Alexander
(Brumbies & Australia), 18 Petrus du Plessis (Saracens), 19 Luke Jones
(Rebels & Australia), 20 Sean McMahon (Rebels & Australia), 21 Luke
Burgess (Zebre & Australia), 22 Mike Harris (Rebels & Australia), 23
Dom Shipperley (Rebels & Australia)