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Bakkies Botha back for South Africa's European tour

Updated: Monday, 28 Oct 2013 17:21 | Comments

Jaque Fourie and Bakkies Botha are back in the Springboks squad
Jaque Fourie and Bakkies Botha are back in the Springboks squad

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South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has recalled three members of the Springboks 2007 World Cup-winning squad for the three-Test tour of Europe.

Lock Bakkies Botha, centre Jaque Fourie and winger JP Pietersen have all been included in the 32-man selection, while there are four uncapped players in the form of hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni, prop Frans Malherbe, lock Pieter-Steph du Toit and scrum-half Louis Schreuder.

There were also recalls for Gio Aplon and Johan Goosen, while Arno Botha, Pierre Spies, Francois Hougaard and Jaco Taute were not considered because of injury.

"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"

Fourie and Botha have not played for South Africa since the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, while Pietersen has been included for the first time in 2013.

Meyer said: "Siyabonga's inclusion, like that of Gio, is also just-reward for continuous great form.

"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. I want to expose him to this environment and the Springbok ethos and I'm very excited to work with him.

"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.

"Pieter-Steph missed a large part of the season because of injury but has been exceptional since his return to the playing field last month, while we've always rated Frans very highly and look forward to working with him again.

"And Louis has always been on our radar - he is only 23, fits in with the way we want to play and was impressive when he worked with us in June.

"Since then he's established himself as first-choice at DHL Western Province, starting in nine of their 12 Absa Currie Cup matches, and I believe he will learn a lot on this tour, improving even more."

The Springboks, runners-up to the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship, start their tour against Six Nations champions Wales in Cardiff on 9 November before facing Scotland on 17 November and France six days later in Paris.

"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," said Meyer.

"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."

South Africa squad:

Backs: Z Kirchner (Leinster), G Aplon (Stormers), W le Roux (Cheetahs), JP Pietersen (Sharks), B Habana (Toulon), JJ Engelbrecht (Bulls), J Fourie (Kobelco Steelers), J de Villiers (captain, Stormers), J Serfontein (Bulls); M Steyn (Stade Francais), J Goosen (Cheetahs), P Lambie (Sharks); F du Preez (Suntory Sungoliath), R Pienaar (Ulster), L Schreuder (Stormers).

Forwards: J du Plessis (Sharks), F Malherbe (Stormers), C Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), G Steenkamp (Toulouse), T Mtawarira (Sharks); B du Plessis (Sharks), A Strauss (Cheetahs), S Ntubeni (Stormers); B Botha (Toulon), F van der Merwe (Bulls), E Etzebeth (Stormers), P-S du Toit (Sharks); M Coetzee (Sharks), W Alberts (Sharks), F Louw (Bath), S Kolisi (Stormers), D Vermeulen (Stormers).

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