The Rugby Championship: Fourie Du Preez included in Springbok squad
Last Updated: 05/08/13 11:11am
Fourie du Preez: available for the three Tests in South Africa
Japan-based scrum-half Fourie du Preez has been named in South Africa's 30-man squad for the opening two rounds of the Rugby Championship against Argentina.
Three players who were not part of the Springbok squad for the June series have been added to the squad.
Du Preez, who has been selected for the Springboks for the first time since the 2011 World Cup, is joined by Toulouse prop Gurthrö Steenkamp and Stormers No 8 Duane Vermeulen, who last played for the Springboks in November 2012.
Du Preez's club in Japan, Suntory Sungoliath, has released him for international duty for parts of the Rugby Championship. He is available for the three Tests in South Africa. When Du Preez cannot travel with the Springboks, 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," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
"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."
Vermeulen, who has recovered from a serious knee injury which kept him out of the June Tests, and the experienced Steenkamp both return to the squad after playing a vital role in the Springboks' unbeaten tour to Ireland, Scotland and England last year.
"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.
"We've managed to keep a lot of continuity between this squad of 30 players and the squad that did duty during the Incoming Series.
"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.
"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 Springboks will open their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina at the FNB Stadium in Soweto as part of the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day celebrations on August 17. The following day they fly to South America where they will face Los Pumas in Mendoza on August 24.
The two Australasian Tests of the competition take place on September 7 in Brisbane (against Australia) and on September 14 in Auckland (against New Zealand).
The final two home Tests are scheduled for September 28 in Cape Town (against Australia) and October 5 in Johannesburg (against New Zealand).
South Africa squad
Forwards: Jannie du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Adriaan Strauss, Eben Etzebeth, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Franco van der Merwe, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Duane Vermeulen.
Backs: Fourie du Preez (SA Tests only), Ruan Pienaar, Jano Vermaak, Piet van Zyl (Overseas Tests), Pat Lambie, Morné Steyn, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (c), JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux.