Zane Kirchner's Leinster debut will have to wait until October at least. AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
zane drain

Kirchner and Pienaar included in Springboks squad for Rugby Championship

Leinster fans will have to wait until late October before they get a glimpse of their new signing in live action.

ZANE KIRCHNER AND Ruan Pienaar have both been named in Heyneke Meyer’s 30-man South Africa squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

Leinster’s new signing, who can play fullback or centre, will be delighted to know he is still in his coach’s plans. The 24-times capped Springbok last featured for his country when he started against England last November.

Kirchner was signed as a direct replacement for Isa Nacewa, who departed the province in May. Then-coach Joe Schmidt remarked that his presence would greatly benefit Leinster’s younger players when the side’s senior players were on international duty with Ireland. It appears likely that the 29-year-old will not make his Leinster bow until Connacht visit the RDS at the end of October.

Kirchner bowed out of Super Rugby with the Bulls when they were defeated 26-23 by the Brumbies at the semi-final stage. The Australians went on to lose the final, today, to the Chiefs.

Pienaar’s inclusion in the squad was always a given and Ulster have given him permission to join up with the ‘Boks next week for training camp. The full squad, including Kirchner, will get together on 12 August.

Pienaar (right) bids farewell to Leinster’s Isa Nacewa. (©INPHO/Colm O’Neill)

Pienaar will battle it out with Jano Vermaak and Fourie du Preez for the No.9 jersey during the championship, which was won last year by New Zealand. Du Preez has been released by his club, Suntory Sun Goliaths, in Japan but only for the Springbok’s three home games. Piet van Zyl will be the extra scrumhalf considered for away games to New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

“Fourie has been out of international rugby for a while and it makes sense to involve him as soon as possible,” reasoned Meyer. “Piet was part of the squad in June and we know what he can do – he will slot in without any problems when necessary.”

South Africa open their campaign with home and away clashes against Argentina. They travel to Australia then New Zealand for away fixtures before facing the same two side, respectively, in Cape Tpown and Johannesburg.

Also included in the 30-man squad are Duane Vermeulen of Clermont and Toulon’s new signing, winger Bryan Habana.

Chiefs stage stunning comeback to win consecutive Super Rugby titles

The South African TV feature on CJ Stander’s wedding is very glossy indeed

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.