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Zane Kirchner set for first Leinster start despite Springboks call-up

Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar has also been selected by South Africa for their November internationals.

Zane Kirchner made his Leinster debut at the weekend.
Zane Kirchner made his Leinster debut at the weekend.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

THE PICTURE OF Zane Kirchner [above] pretty much sums up his contribution to Leinster’s 16 — 13 win over Connacht on Saturday.

The South African came on for his debut with seven minutes to play and stood in the backline as the Leinster forwards forced Connacht to give away penalties and lose men to the sin bin. Scrummaging pressure told at the home fans were relieved when a penalty try was awarded.

Kirchner has been called up for the Springboks side for their November Tests against Wales, Scotland and France. His drafting will not impinge on Leinster’s plans to give him a run out against Newport Gwent Dragons this weekend.

Leinster coach Matt O’Connor said, “We’re delighted to have the likes of Jenno (Shane Jennings) and Zane (Kirchner) back in the frame because we’re going to need a few experienced heads over in Newport in a ground which has traditionally been a difficult place for Leinster to go to and win.”

Ulster scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar has also been included in the squad and it looks likely that he will miss out on his team’s away date with Scarlets at the weekend.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer is targeting a winning end to 2013 for his team after they were narrowly beaten to The Rugby Championship by free-scoring New Zealand.

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He said, “We’ll play in conditions we’ve not yet encountered this year, but we want to keep our positive mind-set on the field and hopefully keep on scoring tries. We’re up for the challenge. I know the players are keen to finish 2013 off on a high.”

SOUTH AFRICA SQUAD

Backs: Zane Kirchner,Gio Aplon, Willie le Roux; JP Pietersen, Bryan Habana, JJ Engelbrecht; Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers (captain), Jan Serfontein; Morné Steyn, Johan Goosen, Pat Lambie; Fourie du Preez, Ruan Pienaar, Louis Schreuder.

Forwards: Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee; Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Flip van der Merwe, Bakkies Botha; Jannie du Plessis, Frans Malherbe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Tendai Mtawarira; Bismarck du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Scarra Ntubeni.

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‘We’ve got to learn, cop on and improve’ declares Leinster’s Jennings

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Patrick McCarry

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