Springboks name nine new caps for Euro tour

The Springbok selectors have included nine uncapped players in the squad of 37 that will tour Europe in November.

 

The squad also includes five players who have been recalled while the balance of 23 players is the bulk of the squad that won the 2009 Vodacom Tri-Nations tournament.

The tour includes Test matches against France, Italy and Ireland as well as two midweek matches, against English Premiership teams Leicester and Saracens.


The newcomers are: Western Province centre Juan de Jongh, Sharks lock Alistair Hargreaves, Free State Cheetahs eighthman Ashley Johnson, the Blue Bulls’ hooker Bandise Maku, scrumhalf Heini Adams, flanker Dewald Potgieter and utility back Francois Hougaard; and Griquas duo of flank Davon Raubenheimer and fullback Riaan Viljoen.


Those recalled are Blue Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner and Cheetahs wing Jongi Nokwe, who both played in the third Test against the British and Irish Lions in July but were excluded from the Tri-Nations squad, Free State Cheetahs centre Meyer Bosman, who was in the SA XV that faced Namibia in May and last played a Test in 2006, Lions fullback Earl Rose, who toured Europe in 2008 and also featured in the Namibia match, and Lions prop Heinke van der Merwe, who played one Test match in 2007.


Western Province lock Andries Bekker and Sharks wing JP Pietersen, who were injured during the Tri-Nations away leg, both return to the squad.


The five players who are not included from the group of 28 that did duty during the Tri-Nations are Free State flank Juan Smith, who was not considered due to injury, Jean de Villiers and Frans Steyn, who are playing for clubs in Ireland and France respectively, Western Province scrumhalf Ricky Januarie and Sharks lock Johann Muller, who was called to replace the injured Bekker towards the end of the Tri-Nations away campaign. Nineteen of the squad were involved in the Currie Cup final on Saturday.


Commenting on the selection, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said: “We will go on tour with a strong core of players who have reached great heights this season, but we are under no illusions about the challenges we face.


“We have three tough Test matches – France beat the All Blacks in New Zealand earlier this year and are always tough opponents at home, Italy were competitive away from home against the All Blacks and the Wallabies, whilst Ireland are the reigning Six Nations champions.


“We do, however, have a fairly settled Test team that boasts a significant number of caps and is well experienced with some very cool heads. But, what we have achieved so far will have little bearing and we will be starting from scratch as we try to put the seal on a very successful season.”


De Villiers added that the nine newcomers to the squad had been recognised for their performances during the Currie Cup season. “All of them put their hands up during the Currie Cup,” he said.


“There are others who may consider themselves unlucky not to have made it but it’s an indication of our depth that we were forced to leave some very good players at home.


“We will use this tour to expose the new players to our team dynamic and culture as well as to allow them an opportunity to play at a higher level and perhaps even challenge for a place in the Test 22.”


De Villiers said the five-match tour would also allow him the opportunity to assess various players, particularly at inside centre and fullback in the wake of the departure of Jean de Villiers and Frans Steyn.


“There are a host of players who are capable of challenging for these two positions, but at the same time we will continue to reassess ourselves in all positions to ensure that we are strong in every aspect of the game,” De Villiers said.


The squad of 37 will assemble in Johannesburg on Monday 2 November, with the Springbok team for the midweek matches departing for

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