South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer brings in nine uncapped players
Last Updated: 02/06/13 9:37am
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer: selected nine uncapped players in his 34-man squad
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has named nine uncapped players in his 34-man squad for the June Test series against Samoa, Italy and Scotland.
Meyer has named six newcomers, Lourens Adriaanse and Willie le Roux, Trevor Nyakane and Pieter "Lappies" Labuschagne and two members of last year's Junior World Championship-winning SA Under-20 squad, Jan Serfontein and Pieter-Steph du Toit, in his squad.
The three other uncapped players are Siya Kolisi, Arno Botha and Jano Vermaak. Two players who only featured in one Test in 2012, Gio Aplon and JJ Engelbrecht, are recalled following impressive displays in 2013.
"It's never easy selecting a squad such as this one, as there are always players who are unlucky to miss out, but there will always be an opportunity to reclaim your place, as Gio and JJ had shown this season."
Western Province midfielder Jean de Villiers is the most experienced member of the squad with 84 Test caps and he retains the captaincy.
Players who were part of the Springbok squad last year, but were not considered due to injury, are JP Pietersen, Jaco Taute, Frans Steyn, Johan Goosen, Duane Vermeulen, Pat Cilliers and Frans Malherbe.
Meyer insists the inclusion of the six newcomers was just reward for good performances in Super Rugby this season, while he wanted to retain the core of the squad that impressed in 2012.
"The Tests in June will be tough and we've been hit by a number of injuries, but I'm very happy with the squad we've selected," said Meyer.
"It's never easy selecting a squad such as this one, as there are always players who are unlucky to miss out, but there will always be an opportunity to reclaim your place, as Gio and JJ had shown this season.
"Despite not playing for one of the five big unions, Lourens and Willie have grabbed their opportunities when they got a chance to play Super Rugby, while two of their team mates at the Toyota Cheetahs, Trevor and Lappies, have also done very well this year.
"It was also good to see Jan and Pieter-Steph make the step up from the junior levels. I've always rated them and they've shone this year for the Bulls and the Sharks.
"To have 34 players available for this series will help a lot and I have a lot of appreciation to the leadership of SARU and the provincial CEOs for allowing us this number."
The Springbok squad will assemble in Durban on Sunday ahead of the first Test of the series which starts the following Saturday at Kings Park against Italy.
South Africa 34-man squad: Lourens Adriaanse (Griquas) Willem Alberts (The Sharks) Gio Aplon (Western Province), Bjorn Basson (Blue Bulls), Arno Botha (Blue Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks), Juan de Jongh (Western Province), Jean de Villiers (captain) (Western Province), Bismarck du Plessis (The Sharks), Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (The Sharks), JJ Engelbrecht (Blue Bulls), Eben Etzebeth (Western Province), Bryan Habana (Western Province), Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls), Zane Kirchner (Blue Bulls), Siya Kolisi (Western Province), Juandré Kruger (Blue Bulls), Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs), Pat Lambie (The Sharks), Willie le Roux (Griquas), Francois Louw (Bath), Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks), Lwazi Mvovo (The Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Cheetahs), Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Chiliboy Ralepelle (Blue Bulls), Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls), Pierre Spies (Blue Bulls), Morné Steyn (Blue Bulls), Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), Flip van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), Jano Vermaak (Blue Bulls).
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