Botha back for Springboks
September 14, 2011
Bakkies Botha makes a surprising return from an Achiles injury © Getty Images
Lock Bakkies Botha has been recalled by South Africa for the Rugby World Cup pool clash with Fiji in Wellington on Saturday.
The veteran second row makes a surprising return from an Achilles injury in one of several changes to the side that edged out Wales in their opening fixture on Sunday night. Botha is drafted in to fill the void left by the injured Victor Matfield (hamstring) with backs Butch James (hip flexor), Jean de Villiers (rib cartilage) and Bryan Habana (patella tendon) also sidelined.
Odwa Ndungane takes over from Habana and Frans Steyn moves from fullback to replace De Villiers, with Pat Lambie wearing the No.15 shirt. A fifth player, Johann Muller failed a late fitness test on a tight hamstring and is replaced on the bench by Francois Louw.
In addition, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers made two tactical changes with Gurthrö Steenkamp promoted to start at loose-head prop in place of Tendai Mtawarira who drops to the bench while the return to a conventional four/three split between forwards and backs among the replacements opens the way for Juan de Jongh to make a first appearance on a Rugby World Cup teamsheet. De Villiers said Willem Alberts would act as a replacement lock if Muller failed to recover sufficiently.
"We have had injury problems at lock, but we have versatile players to cover for most situations," said De Villiers. "Danie Rossouw has now been picked to start at four, five, seven and eight this season, and he will call the lineouts this weekend.
"Against a tough proposition like Fiji you would prefer to have all your players available, but this is tournament rugby and we picked our squad knowing that we would have to cover for many situations."
South Africa: P Lambie; J P Pietersen, J Fourie, F Steyn, O Ndungane; M Steyn, F du Preez; G Steenkamp, J Smit (captain), J du Plessis, B Botha, D Rossouw, H Brussow, S Burger, P Spies.
Replacements: B du Plessis, T Mtawarira, F Louw, W Alberts, F Hougaard, R Pienaar, J de Jongh.
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