Rugby Championship

Fourie's return to boost Boks

2013-09-22 22:00
Fourie du Preez (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The reintroduction of veteran scrumhalf Fourie du Preez back into the Springbok squad for Rugby Championship home Tests against Australia and New Zealand will surely be a boost to their title chances.

Du Preez, centre Juan de Jongh and lock Pieter-Steph du Toit were added on Sunday to the squad that defeated the Wallabies and lost to the All Blacks in away matches this month.

The Boks confront Australia on September 28 at Newlands in Cape Town and table-toppers New Zealand on October 5 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

Scrum-half Piet van Zyl drops out to make way for Japan-based Du Preez, who was unavailable for the Championship games in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Du Preez came off the bench to score a try as the Springboks demolished the Pumas 73-13 in Soweto last month at the start of the southern hemisphere tournament.

It was his first appearance in the green and gold shirt since defending champions South Africa lost to Australia in the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

He quit the Pretoria-based Bulls for Tokyo club Suntory Sungoliath the following year, fuelling speculation that the Test career of the then 30-year-old was over.

However, recent media reports have him in first place on the scrum-halves' list of Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer for the 2015 World Cup in England

Experienced 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 young Sharks lock Du Toit this season, but a sternum injury ruled him out of the first four Rugby Championship Tests.

After two Currie Cup appearances for the Durban team without any hitches, Du Toit got the nod, although he is unlikely to feature in the matchday 23.

Meyer has consistently chosen Eben Etzebeth as his front-of-lineout jumper and alternated Juandré Kruger and Flip van der Merwe for 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," said Meyer.

"Juan is an experienced player and will slot back into the squad with ease as preparations start for the Newlands Test against Australia."

JJ Engelbrecht and skipper Jean de Villiers have been the starting line-up centres in each Rugby Championship Test with young Jan Serfontein coming off the bench.

Title-holders New Zealand have 18 points, South Africa 14, Australia four and Argentina two with two rounds of the tournament left.

The Springbok squad for the final two Rugby Championship Tests:
 
Forwards:
Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Juandré Kruger, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.
 
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, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak.

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