Springboks recall Fourie du Preez
September 23, 2013
Fourie du Preez is reported to be Heyneke Meyer's preferred scrum-half looking towards Rugby World Cup 2015 © Getty Images
South Africa have recalled Fourie du Preez to the Springboks squad for The Rugby Championship Tests at home to Australia and New Zealand.
The Springboks host Australia at Newlands in Cape Town on September 28 and table-toppers New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on October 5, with Du Preez, centre Juan de Jongh and lock Pieter-Steph du Toit added to the squad that defeated the Wallabies 38-12 in Brisbane and lost to the All Blacks 29-15 in Auckland.
Piet van Zyl drops out to make way for Japan-based du Preez, who was unavailable for the Test games in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand having previously playing the Pumas and scoring a try off the bench in the Springboks' 73-13 victory in Soweto. That match marked his first Test appearance since South Africa lost to Australia as defending champions in the Rugby World Cup 2011 quarter-finals.
Du Preez quit the Pretoria-based Bulls for Tokyo club Suntory Sungoliath in 2012, fuelling speculation the Test career of the then 30-year-old was over, but media reports in South Africa suggest he is the No.1 scrum-half on Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer's list for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. Ruan Pienaar and Jano Vermaak are the other scrum-halves in a 30-man squad comprising 17 forwards and 13 backs.
Meyer wanted to fast-track du Toit this season, but the young Sharks lock sustained a sternum injury that ruled him out of the first four rounds of The Rugby Championship. He has since played two Currie Cup matches for the Durban team to earn a call-up even though he is unlikely to feature in the matchday 23.
Meyer has consistently chosen Eben Etzebeth as his front-of-lineout jumper, alternating Juandre Kruger and Flip van der Merwe in the other lock place. "Pieter-Steph has always been part of our long-term plans and we are looking forward to welcoming him back into the Springbok fold," Meyer said.
De Jongh was recalled depth to the midfield backs, Meyer saying "Juan is an experienced player and will slot back into the squad with ease as preparations start for the Newlands Test against Australia". Meyer has paired JJ Engelbrecht and skipper Jean de Villiers as his starting line-up centres in each Rugby Championship Test to date, with Jan Serfontein playing off the bench.
Backs: 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.
Forwards: 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, Gurthr Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.