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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Springbok team to face England

Three players will make their Test debuts for the Springboks on Saturday in the first Test against England at Kings Park in Durban. Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth, Bulls lock Juandré Kruger and Sharks flank Marcell Coetzee have all been included in Heyneke Meyer’s first ever starting XV as Springbok coach.

New faces... Kruger, Coetzee and Etzebeth
A fourth uncapped player, prop Coenie Oosthuizen of the Cheetahs, has been selected on the bench.

Both Etzebeth and Coetzee are still young enough to play Under-21 rugby.

“Eben, Juandré, Marcell and Coenie have all put up their hands this season and I know they can succeed at Test level,” Meyer said when naming his team this afternoon.

Only nine players that played in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia last year have been included in the starting line-up.

“I have faith in the players and the ball is now in their hands to show they have what it takes to perform constantly at this level as we enter a new Springbok era,” Meyer said.

Meyer also announced Bismarck du Plessis as vice-captain to Jean de Villiers “We’re fortunate to have a strong leadership core in Jean, Bismarck and, if he gets replaced, Adriaan Strauss,” he said.

The starting XV boasts a combined total of 458 Test caps. Meyer said the newcomers in the squad all deserved their places following some great displays for their franchises in this season’s Vodacom Super Rugby championship.

“Although the team is quite young, we still have some experience across the starting XV. The balance in the team is right in the way we want to play against England and we’re looking forward to the first Test of the season,” Meyer said.

This weekend’s Test will be followed by matches in consecutive weeks in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

Springbok team to face England

15. Zane Kirchner, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Jean de Villiers (captain), 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Juandré Kruger, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Beast Mtawarira.

Substitutes: 16. Adriaan Strauss, 17. Coenie Oosthuizen, 18. Flip van der Merwe, 19. Keegan Daniel, 20. Ruan Pienaar, 21. Pat Lambie, 22. Wynand Olivier.

Springbok captain Jean De Villiers
Match Trivia

• Jean De Villiers will equal Jaque Fourie’s record of most capped Springbok centre. Fourie is the current record holder with 58 appearances at centre. De Villiers needs one try to reach 20 career Test tries for the Springboks.

• Bryan Habana is South Africa’s most capped Springbok wing with 73 Tests and also most experienced player in the squad with 74 Test caps. Habana is the Springbok top try scorer with 40 career tries in Tests and all were scored as a wing.

• Habana also holds the Springbok record for most career tries in Tests against England with six. He has played in eight Tests against England, together with Frans Steyn, the most of any player in this squad.

• Morné Steyn shares the Springbok record for most tries in Tests as a flyhalf with Joel Stransky and Piet Visagie - they have all scored six tries in the No 10 shirt. He also holds the record for most points in a match at this venue when he scored a try, conversion and eight penalty goals for a total of 31 points against New Zealand in 2009.

• Steyn needs 10 points to surpass Naas Botha’s 40 career points at this venue. Percy Montgomery is the record holder with 73 career points at Mr Price Kings Park. Three penalty goals will equal Percy’s career record of 11 penalty goals at this venue.

• Pierre Spies will become South Africa’s most capped No. 8, surpassing former Bok captain Gary Teichmann, who is equal with Spies on 42 caps. Spies also holds the record for most Test tries as a No. 8, with seven.

• Frans Steyn is the only player that has played in all seven consecutive wins against England since 2006 and, together with Bryan Habana, the only other player in the squad with eight Test caps against England.

• The Castle Incoming Tour of South Africa by England is the first three-Test tour to this country by a single nation since 1996 when New Zealand played three Tests after the conclusion of the Tri-Nations series.

• The Springboks have won their last seven consecutive Tests against England. England’s worst run against any country is nine consecutive losses against New Zealand.

England’s last victory against South Africa was in 2006 at Twickenham (23-21). South Africa won their last Test against England, also at Twickenham, in 2010. England’s last victory in South Africa was in 2000 in Bloemfontein when they won 27-22.

Series fixtures
June 9: South Africa v England, Durban – 17:00
June 16: South Africa v England, Johannesburg – 17:00
June 23: South Africa v England, Port Elizabeth – 17:00

Springbok 32-man squad
Zane Kirchner (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), JJ Engelbrecht (Bulls), Jean de Villiers (Stormers, captain), Wynand Olivier (Bulls), Francois Steyn (Racing Metro/France), Bryan Habana (Stormers), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Bjorn Basson (Bulls), Morne Steyn (Bulls), Patrick Lambie (Sharks), Elton Jantjies (Golden Lions), Francois Hougaard (Bulls), Jano Vermaak (Bulls), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster/Ireland).

Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Werner Kruger (Bulls), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Flip van der Merwe (Bulls), Franco van der Merwe (Lions), Juandre Kruger (Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Willem Alberts (Sharks), Pierre Spies (Bulls), Ryan Kankowski (Sharks), Keegan Daniel (Sharks), Jacques Potgieter (Bulls).

Source: Sport24

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