Pat dropped for Paris

2013-11-21 00:00

PAT Lambie, who swopped between fullback and flyhalf against Wales and Scotland, has been dropped from the Springboks’ starting line-up for Saturday night’s Test against France in Paris.

Coach Heyneke Meyer has returned to his first-choice team, which started against Wales at the start of the tour, but has omitted Lambie in the only unforced change.

Willie le Roux, on the strength of his man-of-the-match display against Scotland, is preferred to him at fullback while Morné Steyn’s superior kicking has earned him the flyhalf berth.

The other two changes to the team that started against Wales were forced on Meyer. Ulster scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar takes over from Fourie du Preez, who has rejoined his Japanese club, and Coenie Oosthuizen replaces the injured Frans Malherbe at tighthead prop.

Young lock Pieter-Steph du Toit is back on the bench where he is joined by new Sharks signing, specialist tighthead Lourens Adriaanse, who is the only uncapped player in the 23-man match squad.

Bulls prop Frik Kirsten, who was surprisingly rushed from South Africa to join the squad on Tuesday, will watch the Test from the grandstand at Stade de France.

Meyer has named a replacement bench top heavy with six forwards — including two locks in Du Toit and veteran Bakkies Botha — and just two backs in scrumhalf Jano Vermaak and Lambie.

Vermaak, based in France, was called into the squad this week to replace Du Preez and has leapfrogged touring scrumhalf Louis Schreuder into the match squad.

Meyer said he had loaded the bench with forwards because both flanks, Willem Alberts and Francois Louw, had suffered recent injuries and he needed loose forward cover.

Meyer, in announcing the team yesterday, said that Le Roux had shown he could adapt to the wet European conditions and this had resulted in his promotion into the starting line-up at fullback.

“Willie was the one guy who I wanted to see how he went in these conditions but he has done wonderfully well to prove himself on this tour,” said Meyer.

“I felt at one stage that his kicking was not good enough for international level and that he was suspect under the high ball. But he has worked hard at those areas of his game.

“Willie has proved he can play at this level now and do something special in the fullback position. I do believe fullback is his best position in terms and he can run from flyhalf in certain situations.”

Free State prop Oosthuizen will be in the starting line-up for the first time after 13 appearances off the bench, taking over from injured tighthead Malherbe.

“This is a great opportunity for Coenie and we believe he’s ready to make the step up to a starting role. I felt it was unfair to keep putting guys in front of Coenie in the pecking order when he has been on the bench for us all year.”

Meyer said that Oosthuizen had excelled as a replacement against Scotland — “but in this match the important thing is for him to get his scrummaging right to set up a platform for us.”

He said that Oosthuizen faced a major challenge against probably the best scrummaging unit in world rugby.

“I’m also very happy for Lourens [Adriaanse], who has been part of the squad for almost the entire season. He’s waited patiently for an opportunity and what better way to make your debut [off the bench] than against France in Paris.”

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux: 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Siya Kolisi 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Patrick Lambie. Kick-off: 10 pm.

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