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28 Oct 2012 16:23
Bryan Habana, the Springboks most experienced player, will miss out on the upcoming Northern Hemisphere matches due to injury. (Gallo)
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Sunday named a 31-man squad for Tests in Ireland, Scotland and England during November and was forced to exclude the winger, who was the latest player to be added to a growing injury list, when he sustained a knee injury in Saturday's Currie Cup final.
Scans on Sunday confirmed the Western Province paceman would miss the November Test series.
South Africa under-20 winger Raymond Rhule – who was part of the squad that won the IRB Junior World Championship in Cape Town earlier this year – was named in the squad along with uncapped Jano Vermaak, Franco van der Merwe, Lionel Mapoe and Arno Botha.
Of the five new-comers, only the 19-year-old Rhule has not been part of a Springbok squad yet this year.
Rhule is one of five wing options, after Meyer included JP Pietersen, Francois Hougaard, Lwazi Mvovo and Mapoe in the touring squad.
Two Springboks currently based in Europe, Schalk Brits (hooker) and Gurthro Steenkamp (loosehead prop), have also been recalled to the national squad.
Due to the significant injury toll, the national selectors will only decide on a 32nd player to be added to the squad at a later stage.
Two Springboks who missed the entire Rugby Championship because of injury, Pietersen and Chiliboy Ralepelle, are back in the squad.
Meyer, whose squad assembles in Cape Town on Wednesday, said it was not easy to select the squad in the light of the high number of players unavailable due to injury.
"We've got a settled core of players that did the job during the England series and the Rugby Championship and we decided to stick with them," Meyer said.
"Obviously losing so many players to injury, the latest being Coenie (Oosthuizen), Tiaan (Liebenberg) and Bryan (Habana) during the Currie Cup, makes it difficult, but this now provides opportunities for other players.
"Gurthro (Steenkamp) and Schalk (Britz) are experienced front rankers who have played for South Africa before and know the conditions in the Northern Hemisphere. This tour provides a good opportunity to assess them as we plan ahead.
"Raymond put up his hand for the Junior Boks and the Cheetahs and I'm very excited to see what he can do.
It's also great to have JP and Chiliboy back from injury as they bring a lot of experience to the squad."
Injured players that had been part of the Springbok squad thus far this year, but were not considered for selection, included Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis, Tiaan Liebenberg, Andries Bekker, Siya Kolisi, Jacques Potgieter, Pierre Spies, Johan Goosen, Frans Steyn and Habana.
Meyer said he expected three difficult Tests.
"Although the Springboks won on their last visit to Dublin (in 2010), they lost three in a row before that," he said.
"In 2010, we lost to Scotland in Edinburgh.
"And in June we've experienced first-hand how difficult an opponent England are. They will be fired up at Twickenham and it will be a challenging Test to end the tour with.
"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 amongst the top sides in the world."
The Springbok squad will assemble in Cape Town on Wednesday and depart to the United Kingdom on Saturday.
Backs: Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (capt), Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Raymond Rhule, Morne Steyn, Jaco Taute, Jano Vermaak.
Forwards: Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Schalk Brits, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Eben Etzebeth, Juandre Kruger, CJ van der Linde, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Franco van der Merwe, Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen. – Sapa.
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