Desperate Div recalls Steyn

2010-08-09 00:00

DESPERATE times call for desperate measures and Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has included Francois Steyn in his 29-man Springbok training squad for the return leg of the Tri-Nations.

The talented but overseas-based Steyn has fallen in and out of favour with De Villiers over the past two seasons, but the Bok coach yesterday named the former Shark among the backs for the three remaining Tri-Nations Tests against the All Blacks and the Wallabies.

The bad news is that Steyn was injured in a pre-season friendly for his French club, Racing Metro, on Friday. He will undergo a scan in Paris tomorrow to determine the seriousness of the injury.

Steyn joined a number of overseas-based South Africans for the Test against Wales in June, but was then dropped by De Villiers, who believed he had adequate cover at fullback. Three successive Test defeats have resulted in an about-turn and South African rugby supporters will be delighted that Steyn is again back in contention.

The training squad of 29 players will attend a four-day camp in Johannesburg this week in preparation for the All Black Test in Soweto on August 21.

The final squad of 24 for the three home Tests will be finalised and confirmed on Friday and will assemble in Johannesburg on Sunday. The match 22 for the Test against the All Blacks at Soccer City will be announced on August 17.

Nearly all the players who played in the overseas Tri-Nations internationals have been included in the squad with only lock Andries Bekker and scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar unavailable due to injury.

The three players who have been recalled are Steyn, Free State flank Juan Smith, who was unavailable for personal reasons, and fit-again Sharks wing JP Pietersen.

Two other players returning from injury — Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis and Cheetahs flank Heinrich Brussöw — have been invited as additional players to join the squad.

The suspended Jaque Fourie cannot be considered for the All Black Test and young Stormers centre Juan de Jongh seems certain to replace him.

Sharks players involved are captain John Smit, JP Pietersen, number eight Ryan Kankowski and props Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis.

There will be those who will criticise the selectors for failing to include a number of Currie Cup players, but there could be as many as seven changes to the starting line-up for the Test against the All Blacks.

Changes can be expected at fullback (with the inclusion of either Gio Aplon or Frans Steyn), wing (JP Pietersen), centres (Juan de Jongh and Jean de Villiers) , scrumhalf (Francois Hougaard), flank (Juan Smith) and tighthead prop (Jannie du Plessis).

PROVISIONAL BOK SQUAD:

Backs

Gio Aplon (Stormers), Juan de Jongh (Stormers), Jean de Villiers (Stormers), Jaque Fourie (Stormers), Bryan Habana (Stormers), Francois Hougaard (Bulls), Ricky Januarie (Stormers), Butch James (Bath), Zane Kirchner (Bulls),Wynand Olivier (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Frans Steyn (Racing Metro), Morné Steyn (Bulls)

Forwards

BJ Botha (Ulster), Schalk Burger (Stormers), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Ryan Kankowski (Sharks), Francois Louw (Stormers), Victor Matfield (Bulls), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Dewald Potgieter (Bulls), Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), Danie Rossouw (Bulls), John Smit (Sharks, captain), Juan Smith (Cheetahs), Pierre Spies (Bulls),Gurthro Steènkámp (Bu,lls),CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs),Flip van der Merwe (Bulls).

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