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Springboks name back-line with 447 caps

Jaque Fourie and JP Pietersen return to the starting team for the clash with Wales

Fourie played against Wales at RWC2011.
Fourie played against Wales at RWC2011.
Image: Photo: Dave Lintott / photosport.co.nz

SOUTH AFRICA COACH Heyneke Meyer has selected a highly experienced starting back-line for his side’s Test match against Wales on Saturday (5.30pm).

JP Pietersen and Jaque Fourie, both currently contracted to Japanese Top League clubs, return to the international fold at right wing and outside centre respectively. This will be Pietersen’s first game for South Africa this season, while Fourie hasn’t played for the ‘Boks since the 2011 World Cup.

The 30-year-old Kobelco Steelers centre brings power and aggression to the South African’s midfield, where he partners former Munster man Jean de Villiers. Elsewhere in the back-line, Morné Steyn, Fourie de Preez and Bryan Habana add their experience, meaning the ‘Boks bring 447 international caps to the Millenium Stadium behind the scrum alone.

Up front, 22-year-old tighthead prop Frans Malherbe makes his debut but there is no place in the match day squad for Toulon lock Bakkies Botha, who has been training with the ‘Boks this week. In his stead, 21-year-old man mountain Pieter-Steph du Toit is set to make his international bow from the bench, having impressed in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup this season.

Springbok head coach Meyer is pleased to have the proven duo of Fourie and Pietersen back in his team.

“We’re very fortunate to have two world-class players in JP and Jaque available for selection and I wanted to get then into the action as soon as possible. They bring a vast amount of experience to the team and it was clear from our training sessions thus far that they are in great form and ready for Test rugby.”

JJ Engelbrecht and Willie le Roux will, of course, be disappointed to have been dropped after strong displays in the Rugby Championship, but Meyer has selected a side to overpower the Welsh on Saturday. It should be the most physical game of the weekend.

South Africa (v Wales): Pat Lambie; JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers (capt.), Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Frans Malherbe; Eben Etzebeth, Flip van der Merwe; Francois Louw, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Ruan Pienaar, JJ Engelbrecht, Willie Le Roux.

Wales (v South Africa): Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Eli Walker; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton (capt.) Dan Lydiate; Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies; Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard, Gethin Jenkins

Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Scott Andrews, Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Liam Williams.

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Murray Kinsella

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