Springboks

Boks have eye on RWC 2015

2012-10-28 18:02
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Ghana-born teenager Raymond Rhule is among five uncapped players chosen by South Africa for Tests in Ireland, Scotland and England during November.

Tall, physically imposing Rhule was part of the national team that won the IRB Junior World Championship in Cape Town this year and has been outstanding for the Free State Cheetahs in the Currie Cup.

He finished highest try scorer in the provincial championship with eight and his power and pace have marked the youngster who moved from Ghana to South Africa during his childhood as a potential future star.

Rhule plays on the left wing and the first choice in that position for the Springboks, veteran Bryan Habana, was ruled out of the tour by an injury sustained Saturday in the Currie Cup final.

Habana joins a long queue of injured stars not considered for the tour, including centre Francois Steyn, flyhalf Johan Goosen, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and loose forwards Schalk Burger and Pierre Spies.

Rhule, utility back Lionel Mapoe, scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, lock Franco van der Merwe and loose forward Arno Botha are the uncapped players named by coach Heyneke Meyer.

The absence of Goosen has turned the fight to play flyhalf against Ireland on November 10 into a three-way struggle between current second choice Elton Jantjies, recalled Morné Steyn and Patrick Lambie.

"This is a very important tour for us as we are going to sample 2015 Rugby World Cup conditions," said Meyer, "and the younger members of the squad must learn how to win away from home.

"Although we won on our last visit to Dublin, we lost the three previous Tests there, and our last visit to Edinburgh ended in defeat. We discovered first hand last June how difficult an opponent England are."

There is a first call-up this for Toulouse loosehead prop Gurthro Steenkamp, who was the first choice in the No 1 shirt during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand ahead of Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira.

Other Europe-based players chosen were Ulster scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, who featured in the mid-year series against England, Saracens hooker Schalk Brits and Bath flanker Francois Louw.

After initially believing he could do without a 'fetcher' among his loose trio, Meyer had a change of heart and Louw revelled in the role once performed by injury-prone Heinrich Brüssow.

The Springbok squad for the outgoing Tour to Ireland, Scotland and England:

Backs: Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Raymond Rhule, Morné Steyn, Jaco Taute, Jano Vermaak

Forwards: Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Schalk Brits, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Eben Etzebeth, Juandré Kruger, CJ van der Linde, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Franco van der Merwe, Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen

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