Le Roux cleared for Wales match

2014-06-19 00:00

MBOMBELA — Willie le Roux will not play out of harm’s way at fullback against Wales on Saturday, but hopes to continue the storming game he had in the middle of the backline despite having sustained a bothersome thigh muscle knock last weekend.

The Springbok team doctor yesterday cleared Le Roux to play alongside a centre who few expected to see back in the Bok team — the 31-year-old Wynand Olivier, who plays for Montpellier in France.

Olivier last played Test rugby in 2012, but with reserve flyhalf Johan Goosen on the injury list and the explosive young Jan Serfontein nursing a shoulder muscle, coach Heyneke Meyer realised he urgently needed a replacement inside centre.

Serfontein will run out against the Red Dragons on Saturday, but with Jean de Villiers and Damian de Allende both injured and only outside centres JJ Engelbrecht and S’bura Sithole available, the bench was limited to Olivier and Paul Jordaan.

Meyer said in the previous Tests Johan Goosen had to double up as inside or outside centre, but the experienced Olivier could now hold the fort in a position that the Wales backline will surely run at.

Olivier has played 37 Tests and although his Test career was not a stellar one to date, he provides experience and stability in the Bok backline.

Meyer added Ruan Pienaar is the replacement flyhalf and while the Bok couching team wanted to enlist Marnitz Boshoff, he is not fit enough after an injury.

Meyer admitted he was relieved when Le Roux was cleared to play in his 14th Test.

He said the Bok players do not want to take a break, but play in every Test. “He [Le Roux] does not want to miss a game and fortunately he recovers well and he will be ready on Saturday,” Meyer said.

The 15 starting players only saw two changes, with Tendai Mtawarira replacing Gurthrö Steenkamp in the number one jersey and Flip van der Merwe taking over from a resting Bakkies Botha at lock.

New Bok wing Cornal Hendricks will get his second Test for South Africa.

Springbok team: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield (k), Flip van der Merwe, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Schalk Brits, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Schalk Burger, Ruan Pienaar, Wynand Olivier, Lwazi Mvovo.

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