Johannesburg – Springbok stalwarts lock Bakkies Botha and centre Jaque Fourie were on Monday included in South Africa’s 32-man squad for the Outgoing Tour to Wales, Scotland and France next week.
It will be Botha's and Fourie’s first involvement with the Springboks since the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, while wing JP Pietersen was back in the squad for the first time this year.
“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,” coach Heyneke Meyer said on Monday.
“They have heaps of experience and are world-class players.”
Western Province hooker Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni was named among four uncapped players which included Frans Malherbe, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Louis Schreuder, who had been part of the national squad previously.
Gio Aplon, part of the squad in June, and Johan Goosen, returning from seven months out injured, were also recalled to the team.
“Scarra’s inclusion, like that of Gio, is just reward for continuous great form,” Meyer said.
“He’s still young and will learn a lot from our two front-line hookers, who both rate among 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.
“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.”
Meyer said Schreuder, who was part of the squad during the June internationals, had been on the Springboks’ radar, while the 23-year-old also fitted in with the way South Africa wanted to play.
“Since then (June), he’s established himself as first-choice at Western Province, starting in nine of their 12 Currie Cup matches. I believe he will learn a lot on this tour, improving even more,” Meyer said.
The Springbok coach said the team wanted to build on their performances during the Rugby Championship where they had won four of their six matches in the series.
“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,” Meyer said.
“We’re up for the challenge. I know the players are keen to finish 2013 off on a high.”
South Africa would come up against Wales on November 9 in Cardiff, Scotland a week later on November 17 in Edinburgh and finish their tour against France on November 23 in Paris.
“The Welsh have won the Six Nations over the last two seasons,” the Bok mentor said.
“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. We will have to be sharp and focused for this last Test of a challenging season.”
Injuries to Arno Botha, Pierre Spies, Francois Hougaard and Jaco Taute meant they were not considered for selection.
Forwards (18): Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Frans Malherbe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Scarra Ntubeni, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.
Backs (14): Gio Aplon, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers (captain), Fourie du Preez, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Ruan Pienaar, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn, Johan Goosen, Louis Schreuder. – Sapa