Experienced backline stars JP Pietersen and Jaque Fourie are back in the Springbok team for Saturday’s year-end tour opener against Wales in Cardiff, while Frans Malherbe will make his Test debut at the Millennium Stadium.
In naming his side for Saturday’s Test against the current Six Nations champions, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has decided to hand Fourie his first Test for South Africa since the Rugby World Cup in 2011, while a combination of injury and non-availability means Pietersen is back for his first taste of international rugby this season.
“We’re very fortunate to have two world-class players in JP and Jaque available for selection and I wanted to get then into the action as soon as possible,” said Meyer.
“They bring a vast amount of experience to the team and it was clear from our training sessions thus far that they are in great form and ready for Test rugby.”
In the front row, 22-year-old Frans Malherbe comes in for the injured Jannie du Plessis, while the only other change to the pack of forwards is at lock, with Flip van der Merwe starting next to Eben Etzebeth in the middle row.
“Frans has big boots to fill, but he’s been with us for most of 2012 and shown good form since recovering from injury recently and we don’t have any doubts that he has what it takes to make the step up,” said Meyer.
“He’ll have two players with more than 50 Test caps each next to him in the scrum, and his general work-rate across the field and on defence is very good. I’m very happy for Frans.”
A second uncapped player, Pieter-Steph du Toit, could make his Test debut for the Springboks.
The promising lock has been included on the bench for this Test.
“I’ve been following his career for a long time and Pieter-Steph has always impressed me,” said Meyer.
“We first invited him to a training camp last year and he probably would’ve played for South Africa earlier this season had he not gotten injured.
“His inclusion in the squad is just reward for a young player who has successfully made the step up to senior rugby.
“To see Frans and Pieter-Steph make the step up to Test match rugby is wonderful.
“They are two very promising young players and deserve to play for the Springboks, just like we’ve used, with great success, players such as Willie le Roux, Jan Serfontein, JJ Engelbrecht, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth and Trevor Nyakane in the last two seasons.”
South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 JJ Engelbrecht, 23 Willie le Roux.
Courtesy of Rugby365.com