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White sticks to winning formula
18 October 2007 10:55am
South Africa coach Jake White has named an unchanged starting XV for Saturday's World Cup final against England.
The Springboks have beaten England on four successive occasions in the last 11 months, including a 36-0 victory in the pool stages five weeks ago.
But White insisted South Africa will be facing a completely different England side this time around, following the return from injury of Jonny Wilkinson.
And he believes England's experience of winning the 2003 World Cup in Australia gives them a major advantage this weekend.
Jason Robinson, Wilkinson, Ben Kay and Phil Vickery will all start their second World Cup final, while England's 22-man match day squad includes 12 players with a winners' medal.
In contrast, loose-head prop Os du Randt is the only South African player to have also been involved in the Springboks' 1995 World Cup triumph.
White said: "They have won a World Cup away from home. Even though Josh Lewsey is not playing (because of injury) he will play a massive part in the preparations for the final.
"That's a massive advantage to have - having guys like (Lawrence) Dallaglio, Wilkinson, Robinson, (Mike) Catt, guys who have won a World Cup.
"That's why it's going to be a completely different outing to the pool game."
The South Africa side features two changes from that Pool A clash five weeks ago.
Flanker Schalk Burger missed the game through suspension but returns to the back row, while tight-head prop CJ van der Linde has replaced BJ Botha, whose tournament was ended by a knee injury.
Van Heerden started against England in Burger's absence and his impressive performance earned him a recall into the squad for the final.
White explained: "It was quite simple. There were no emotional decisions made.
"We felt that the way Argentina played, Bobby was suited to that game.
"It's only fair on Wikus as he played a massive role against England in the pool game. He played a massive role in the way we played.
"It's good to have two guys like Schalk and Wikus as part of our mix. We need two guys who can play that role."
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