Zane Kirchner (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - 2007 World Cup winning flyhalf Butch James has backed Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's decision to start Zane Kirchner at fullback for Saturday's clash against Japan in Brighton.
The Bok coach sprung a few selection surprises for his side's tournament opener, but James is pleased with the make-up of the side.
"I’m very happy with the team. Zane Kirchner at fullback, I think he’s solid and a perfect kind of player for World Cups," James said via his World Cup-dedicated Kicca account.
"I’ve got no issues with him at fullback."
James was also particularly pleased to see Lwazi Mvovo getting a start on the right wing, while he understood Meyer's decision to leave out Duane Vermeulen and Eben Etzebeth.
"I think he’s (Mvovo) proved whenever he’s put the green and gold jersey on that he’s a great player and can finish really well," said James.
"One player that can probably count himself unlucky is Damian de Allende … he’s been in great form.
"Also seeing that he’s not risking Eben Etzebeth or Duane Vermeulen … it’s a good thing. You don’t want to risk them too soon on the tournament."
James expected scrumhalf Fourie du Preez to be given a run off the bench and was buoyed by his return to the side.
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