Stormers star steps in for Boks

Mon, 18 Jun 2012 14:03

Western Province fullback Joe Pietersen has been called up to the Springbok squad in Port Elizabeth, following the non-availability of a number of fullback options for Saturday's third and final Test against England.

Pietersen will join the squad later on Monday as they prepare for Saturday’s Test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and could make his Test debut if he is included in the matchday 22.

Injuries to fullbacks Zane Kirchner (knee) and Pat Lambie (ankle) in the first two Tests, as well as Frans Steyn’s non-availability because of his wedding, has necessitated the call-up of Pietersen.

Pietersen, who has been struggling with a back injury, was given the all-clear by the Western Province medical team to join to Boks on Monday.

The call-up is just reward for the 28-year-old, who had enjoy an outstanding season with the Stormers folowing his return from a stint in the French Top 14.

“Joe has always been part of our plans and also attended our final Planning Camp in Durban shortly before the England series started,” explained Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Injuries are part of the game and something you can’t plan for, but we always knew Frans was not going to be available for this Test.

"Joe knows our systems and gameplans and I’m sure he will slot in easily.”

Lambie and loose forward Willem Alberts, who injured knee ligaments in the second Test, both underwent scans on Monday morning in Port Elizabeth. They have not yet been ruled out of the Test and a further decision on their availability will be made by Wednesday.

“We’ve decided not to call up a replacement for Willem as we have enough cover amongst the loose forwards in the squad,” Meyer added.