South Africa squad named for Rugby Championship

SARUHead coach Heyneke Meyer has named his squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship, with veteran centre Jean de Villiers recovering in time to captain the squad.

De Villiers is amongst six players that missed the June tests who return to the squad this time, the others being Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Frans Malherbe (prop), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Patrick Lambie (flyhalf/fullback) and Damian de Allende (centre).

De Allende and Cobus Reinach, who is included at the expense of the injured Fourie du Preez, are the only uncapped players in the squad.

The group will assemble for a pre-competition camp between 4th and 8th August, before meeting up again on the 10th in preparation for their first test against Argentina on the 16th.

Injured players who were not considered for selection after featuring in recent times are Flip van der Merwe (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep), Fourie du Preez (ankle) and Jaque Fourie (ankle), while JP Pietersen and Schalk Burger are unavailable due to club commitments in Japan.

“It’s great to have Jean back to lead the side in the Rugby Championship,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Victor Matfield and Jan Serfontein both did superbly well in his absence, but he is our captain and I’m sure he will slot back into the side without any difficulty. The same goes for Eben, Frans and Patrick, all of whom have been part of the squad before.

“We will medically assess all the players in the squad in Johannesburg next week. This will not only include the players who missed the June Tests because of injury, but also someone such as Mtawarira, who has been out of action for a while. We will deal with every player and his needs individually.”

South Africa squad for the Rugby Championship 2014:
Willem Alberts (Sharks) Loose forward, 32 Test caps
Bakkies Botha (Toulon, France) Lock, 79 Test caps
Schalk Brits (Saracens, England) Hooker, 7 Test caps
Marcell Coetzee (Sharks) Loose forward, 16 Test caps
Damian De Allende (Western Province) Utility back, uncapped
Lodewyk de Jager (FS Cheetahs) Lock, 3 Test caps
Jean de Villiers (captain, Western Province) Centre,96 Test caps
Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks) Hooker, 60 Test caps
Jannie du Plessis (Sharks) Prop, 54 Test caps
Eben Etzebeth (Western Province) Lock, 23 Test caps
Bryan Habana (Toulon, France) Wing, 97 Test caps
Cornal Hendricks (FS Cheetahs) Wing, 3 Test caps
Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls) Scrum-half, 28 Test caps
Patrick Lambie (Sharks) Utility back, 32 Test caps
Willie le Roux (FS Cheetahs) Utility back, 15 Test caps
Francois Louw (Bath, England) Loose forward, 30 Test caps
Frans Malherbe (Western Province) Prop, 2 Test caps
Victor Matfield (Blue Bulls) Lock, 113 Test caps
Teboho Mohoje (FS Cheetahs) Loose forward, 1 Test cap
Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks) Prop, 55 Test caps
Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks) Wing, 9 Test caps
Trevor Nyakane (FS Cheetahs) Prop, 4 Test caps
Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N Ireland) Scrum-half, 76 Test caps
Handré Pollard (Blue Bulls) Fly-half, 1 Test cap
Cobus Reinach (Sharks) Scrum-half, uncapped
Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls) Centre, 12 Test caps
Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse, France) Prop, 51 Test caps
Morné Steyn (Stade Français, France) Fly-half, 56 Test caps
Adriaan Strauss (FS Cheetahs) Hooker, 34 Test caps
Duane Vermeulen (Western Province) Number eight, 19 Test caps.