Springboks recall Du Preez for Rugby Championship
August 3, 2013
Fourie du Preez is set to feature during the Rugby Championship © Getty Images
The Springboks have recalled scrum-half Fourie du Preez for the forthcoming Rugby Championship.
Du Preez is currently running out for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan but they have agreed to release him for the Boks' home matches in the tournament. If Du Preez is picked by South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer, it will be the first time he has run out for the Springboks since the 2011 World Cup.
When Du Preez is unavailable for selection, the Boks have revealed his place in the squad will be taken by Piet van Zyl. "We're very thankful to everyone at SARU and Suntory who made it possible to select Fourie," Meyer said. "Fourie has been out of international rugby for a while and it makes sense to involve him as soon as possible.
"Piet was part of the squad in June and we know what he can do - he will slot in without any problems when necessary."
And Meyer has also recalled prop Gurthro Steenkamp and Duane Vermeulen. No.8 Vermeulen missed the June Tests due to a knee injury but Meyer is confident the back-rower will be fit to play in the Championship.
"It's great to have Duane back after he played such an important role for us at the end of last season," said Meyer. "It will also be good to see Gurthrö back in the mix. Along with Fourie, they boast 102 Tests worth of experience between the two of them, have been part of very successful teams before and will be able to share a lot of knowledge with the younger players around them."
And in the rest of the squad, Meyer has picked the bulk of the players who saw them through the June Tests with Toulon-bound Bryan Habana, Ulster's Ruan Pienaar and Bath's Francois Louw all included in the 30-man squad. Jean de Villiers has been retained as captain.
"As I've said before, it's vitally important for the younger players in the set-up to get more experienced and increase their Test caps, but this will be a very tough Championship and we will have to be at our very best," Meyer said. "Argentina showed last year what they can do and while we are mindful of the threat they pose, our focus will be on building on the good things we achieved in June and improving in areas where we were not satisfied."
The likes of Frans Malherbe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Arno Botha, Pierre Spies, Francois Hougaard, Johan Goosen, Jaco Taute and Frans Steyn were not considered due to injury.
The Springboks open their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina on August 17 in Soweto and then travel to Mendoza to play the Pumas again on August 24.
Duane Vermeulen is back in the Springboks mix © Getty Images
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