Slick Fourie du Preez back with Boks for crucial Australia Test

2013-09-17 00:00

SCRUMHALF Fourie du Preez is back with the Springboks and flank Marcell Coetzee will return to the Sharks, as national coach Heyneke Meyer yesterday tinkered with his squad ahead of the Rugby Championship international against Australia in Cape Town on September 28.

Meyer has released four members of his Springbok squad and confirmed that world-class scrumhalf Du Preez, currently playing his rugby in Japan, would be back in the match squad for the home Tests against the Wallabies and All Blacks (October 7).

The four players released to play Currie Cup rugby are Franco van der Merwe (Golden Lions), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Juan de Jongh (Western Province) and Bjorn Basson (Blue Bulls).

Van der Merwe and De Jongh played for their provinces while the Boks were Down Under.

Scrumhalf Piet van Zyl has also returned to the Free State Cheetahs, as Fourie du Preez returns.

Ruan Pienaar’s limitations on defence were again exposed in Auckland. But the slick, experienced Du Preez will add attacking options, as the Springboks go in search of tries in their two home games.

The Springbok squad will gather in Cape Town on Friday, where the injury situation will be assessed. A final call on any possible changes to the squad will be made by Sunday. The Springboks will start their on-field preparations on Monday for the Newlands Test.

“We have two crucial matches ahead and we will have to work very hard if we are to keep alive our chances of winning the Rugby Championship,” Meyer said yesterday.

The Sharks indicated yesterday that Coetzee would be rushed into action against the Free State Cheetahs at King’s Park on Saturday. He will take over from captain Jacques Botes, who will be rested this weekend.

Botes would have become the most capped Currie Cup player in history, beating Helgard Muller’s record of 142 caps, had he played on Saturday. But, under the Sharks’ rotational policy, his day will no doubt come later in the season.

Forward coach Brad McLeod-Henderson said he was happy to come away with the Sharks’ first win in Kimberley in three years (25-24).

“We again struggled, but we will take that momentum with us into the game against the Cheetahs.

“There were a lot of errors on the day and there are many aspects that we will work on this week,” McLeod-Henderson said.

“The Cheetahs are going to be another tough challenge after they beat the Golden Lions.”

Saturday’s game at King’s Park kicks off at 3 pm.

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