Bok squad bolstered for home tests

23 September 2013

Springbok coach Heynecke Meyer has bolstered his squad ahead of South Africa’s upcoming Castle Lager Rugby Championship home tests against Australia and New Zealand.

Lock Pieter-Steph du Toit returns to the Bok camp having overcome the sternum injury that forced him out of the South African squad earlier this year. He has recently played two full matches for The Sharks.

Centre Juan de Jongh, after failing to crack the nod for the trip to Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, is also back in the line-up.

‘Great’

“It’s great to see Pieter-Steph back in action and I have to commend The Sharks for the good work they’ve done on getting him back to full match fitness,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said in a statement on Sunday.

“He has always been part of our long-term plans and we’re looking forward to welcoming him back into the Springbok fold.

“Juan is an experienced player and will slot back into the squad with ease as we start our preparations for the test against Australia at DHL Newlands on Saturday.”

Fourie du Preez

Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, who was superb when he came on as a substitute in the Boks’ 73-13 thrashing of Argentina in Soweto, is once again in the squad. The agreement with his Japanese club Suntory Sun Goliath is that he is he is available for South Africa’s home tests.

After the Springboks’ highly controversial 29-15 defeat to New Zealand in Auckland, which subsequently resulted in the International Rugby Board withdrawing the red card handed to Bismarck du Plessis that forced the Boks to play 50 minutes with only 14 players, they trail the All Blacks by four points in the Championship standings.

The Kiwis, after four wins in four outings, have 18 points. South Africa has 14 points from three wins, while Australia is on four points after edging Argentina 14-13 in Perth last time out. The Pumas prop up the table with two points.

Potential decider

What it means is if both the Springboks, who take on Australia in Cape Town, and All Blacks, who face Argentina away from home, win this coming weekend, the test between the world’s top two teams at Ellis Park on 5 October could decide the winners of the title.

Depending on the outcome of the game in La Plata, the Boks might also need another bonus point win over Australia.

Given the unfortunate nature of their loss in New Zealand, South Africa will, no doubt, be hugely motivated to show they could have won with 15 men playing 15 men.

The clash in Auckland was on its way to becoming a classic before Du Plessis’ sending off. That sets up the Johannesburg showdown as another potential doozy. Beating Australia, though, is the only focus for coach Meyer and his charges right now.

The Springbok squad starts preparing for the test against the Wallabies on Monday in Cape Town.

SPRINGBOK SQUAD

Forwards (17): Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Juandre Kruger, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen

Backs (13): Bjorn Basson, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Fourie du Preez, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Ruan Pienaar, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn, Jano Vermaak

SAinfo reporter and SA Rugby