Tuesday 24 April 2018

Another blow for Springboks as injury rules out Habana

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

STRUGGLING South Africa have received yet another huge injury blow ahead of next week's clash with Ireland after Bryan Habana was ruled out of their November tour.

The 29-year-old global superstar injured his knee in Saturday's Currie Cup final and was left out of Heyneke Meyer's 31-man squad.

The former Leicester Tigers supremo has already lost a host of seasoned internationals and makes the trip to Dublin with five new caps in his squad. There is a surprise recall for Saracens hooker Schalk Brits, who has not played for his country since 2008.

Ulster's Ruan Pienaar is included in a callow squad devoid of many of the big names well known to Irish fans.

Captain Jean de Villiers is facing a race to be fit, but the likes of Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies, Bismarck du Plessis and Juan Smith were all ruled out.

Those absentees will be compounded by the news that Habana will not tour after injuring his knee in Western Province's Currie Cup success on Saturday.

Chiliboy Ralapelle and JP Pietersen return to the squad, having missed the Rugby Championship, while former Leinster prop CJ van der Linde is also included.


Teenage winger Raymond Rhule is the bolter among the five new faces, with scrum-half Jano Vermaak, lock Franco van der Merwe, wing/centre Lionel Mapoe and flanker Arno Botha all having been involved in squads during the season.

"We've got a settled core of players that did the job during the England series and Rugby Championship and we decided to stick with them," coach Heyneke Meyer said. "Obviously losing so many players to injury makes it difficult, but this now provides opportunities for other players.

"Our aim is to end the season on a positive note. We set ourselves high standards and we want to improve with every Test, but we have a team that is still gaining valuable experience as we strive to constantly be among the top sides in the world.

"We know we're not there yet, but we've laid a foundation in the first nine Tests this year and we will build on that.

"The Rugby World Cup in 2015 also takes place in England, so we will use this tour to see how our players adapt to the conditions as we look ahead to that very important tournament."

South Africa squad -- Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Schalk Brits, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Juandré Kruger, Pat Lambie, Francois Louw, Lionel Mapoe, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Raymond Rhule, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Morné Steyn, Adriaan Strauss, Jaco Taute, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Franco van der Merwe, Jano Vermaak, Duane Vermeulen

Irish Independent

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