Springboks recall veteran trio for Europe tour
Springbok Bakkies Botha warms up during a public training session for the South African team in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup at Rugby League Park in Wellington on September 13, 2011
It will be Botha and Fourie’s first involvement with the Springboks since the previous Rugby World Cup, in 2011 in New Zealand, while Pietersen is back in the squad for the first time this year.
The new faces among the 32-strong Springboks tour party include 22-year-old Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni for whom the tour will be his first involvement with the Springboks.
The other three uncapped players in the touring party, Frans Malherbe, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Louis Schreuder, have been part of the national squad previously.
Gio Aplon, who was part of the squad in June, and Johan Goosen, who recently returned after seven months out injured, were recalled to the team.
“Scarra’s inclusion, like that of Gio, is also just-reward for continuous great form,” said Springbok coach Meyer.
“He’s still young and will learn a lot from our two front-line hookers, who both rate amongst the best in the world, on this tour.
“It will be great to have Bakkies, Jaque and JP in the squad – all of them are really excited to play for the Springboks again, they have heaps of experience and are world-class players.
Meyer said the Springboks would like to build on their performances during the Rugby Championship in the Tests against Wales (November 9 in Cardiff), Scotland (November 17 in Edinburgh) and France (November 23 in Paris).
“We’ll play in conditions we’ve not yet encountered this year, but we want to keep our positive mind-set on the field and hopefully keep on scoring tries,” said Meyer.
“We’re up for the challenge. I know the players are keen to finish 2013 off on a high.
“The Welsh have won the Six Nations the last two seasons. It’s our first Test against them since the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and they will be fired up at the Millennium Stadium.
“This year Scotland finished third in the Six Nations and in our two Tests against them in the last two seasons, they have been a tough nut to crack. We’re not expecting anything different at Murrayfield this year.
“We finish off against France at the Stade de France, where the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 2007. But we’ve not beaten Les Bleus in France since 1997 and will have to be sharp and focused for this last Test of a challenging season.”
The South African squad for the Test matches against Wales (November 9), Scotland (November 16) and France (November 23)
Forwards: (17): Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Tendai Mtawarira, Scarra Ntubeni, Coenie Oosthuizen, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen
Backs:(15): Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers (cap.), Fourie du Preez, JJ Engelbrecht, Jaque Fourie, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Pat Lambie, Willie le Roux, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Louis Schreuder, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn