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Pienaar gets Springbok start but Kirchner surplus to requirements

Willie Le Roux has been selected ahead of the new Leinster signing.

Ruan Pienaar in action against Ireland last November.
Ruan Pienaar in action against Ireland last November.
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

RUAN PIENAAR HAS been selected to start at scrumhalf for South Africa’s Rugby Championship opener against Argentina.

The Ulster player will be joined by Morne Steyn in the halfback pairing for the weekend clash with the Pumas. Fourie du Preez, who is playing his rugby trade in Japan, is the reserve scrumhalf on the Springbok bench.

Duane Vermeulen [Clermont] and Bryan Habana [Toulon] have been included in the ‘Bok’s starting XV by coach Heyneke Meyer. The team will, once again, be captained by former Munster centre Jean de Villiers.

Fullback Zane Kirchner has been left out of the matchday squad entirely. The new Leinster signing has been overlooked in favour of Willie le Roux, who starts at 15, and the versatile Jan Serfontein.

Argentina will be led by former Leinster outhalf Felipe Contepomi. The last time the two sides clashed resulted in a 16-16 draw. The Pumas led 13-3 at half-time before Frans and Morne Steyn combined to prevent a noteworthy loss in Mendoza.

South Africa: Willie le Roux; Bjorn Basson, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Jannie du Plessis; Eben Etzebeth, Juandre Kruger; Francois Louw, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi, Fourie du Preez, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.

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Patrick McCarry

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