Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has explained his decision to go into Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Japan with six forwards on his bench.
It is the exact same matchday 23 that the Boks fielded against Italy in their pool match two weekends ago, and the decision suggests that Erasmus is banking on the physicality of his forwards to get the job done in Tokyo.
Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and utility back Frans Steyn are the only backline players on the bench for Sunday.
"If you look at our team selection, we’ve gone with the six-two split (six forwards and two backs among the replacements), which a lot of people will think we will be pretty forward-orientated, and try to dominate," Erasmus explained.
"That is true in one sense, but in another sense, the way Japan play, they do exploit your tired and bigger forward defenders late in the first and second half.
"We tend to think that in our team selection, having two fresh packs of tight forwards, we might nullify the space that they might try to use during the game."
The likes of RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw, Steven Kitshoff and Malcolm Marx give the Boks immense physicality off the bench.
"We tried to get some continuity in the team so yes, there were a few difficult team selections," Erasmus added,
"It wasn’t so easy, but in terms of what we achieved against Italy, and combinations and continuity, we thought that was the best team to pick."
Kick-off on Sunday is at 12:15 (SA time).
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn