Sunday 25 February 2018

Habana blow for Springboks

South Africa wing Bryan Habana will play no further part on the tour of Ireland and Great Britain after breaking a bone in his hand during training.

Habana suffered the injury during a defensive drill today when he fell awkwardly.

His place for Saturday's Test match against Scotland has been taken by Lwazi Mvovo, who was originally named on the bench for the Murrayfield clash, with Adi Jacobs drafted in among the replacements.

Coach Peter de Villiers had earlier announced three changes to the starting XV, with one positional switch.

Full-back Zane Kirchner, scrum-half Francois Hougaard and number eight Ryan Kankowski come into the side, while Gio Aplon switches to the wing after playing at full-back in last Saturday's 29-25 win over Wales in Cardiff.

Scrum-half Ruan Pienaar drops to the bench, while number eight Pierre Spies drops out of the 22 altogether.

Two changes to the matchday squad were enforced, with winger Bjorn Basson and replacement hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle sent home after failing random tests following the 23-21 win over Ireland on November 6.

Ralepelle and Basson, who was due to fly home anyway because of an ankle injury suffered in the win over Wales, tested positive for banned stimulant methylhexaneamine, commonly used as a nasal decongestant.

De Villiers is keen to move on from the departures of Ralepelle and Basson, which emerged yesterday and have seen the Springboks scale back their consumption of nutritional supplements.

"We have moved on, we're professional, we know how to deal with tough moments and we look forward to playing the game on Saturday," said De Villiers.

The Springboks have scaled back their use of nutritional supplements and sent them for analysis.

"We have sent a lot of stuff for testing. We don't want to repeat it."

The world champions, in selecting Kankowski and Hougaard ahead of Spies and Pienaar, have granted chances to build greater competition for places.

"This one for us is an opportunity, with some things in the future in mind, to see how on a par our players are," added De Villiers.

"We know how good they are, but whether they fit into the team only on the field of play is where you will find out."

De Villiers is using this month's tour to build towards the World Cup in New Zealand in 10 months' time.

He added: "You don't make experiments at international level, you just reward players for what you believe they can bring to the game.

"We just have to use our players to the best of our ability.

"There is a World Cup next year. You would have to be stupid if you think that 15 players or 22 players can win a World Cup for you.

"You have to have a squad of 30, so I'm just using the opportunity that this tour gives me and I will play all the players on this tour."

De Villiers insisted South Africa would not take Scotland lightly, despite their hosts' 49-3 defeat to New Zealand last Saturday.

"We will never underestimate anybody," he added.

"They are a very good international side and if we think we deserve to rock up (and win), I think we deserve a gun in our hands, to shoot ourselves.

"I don't think one of our players will ever become complacent and we'll never underestimate anybody that we play against."

Press Association

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