Boks call on rookie prop

Tue, 11 Sep 2012 08:40
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Young Western Province tighthead prop Frans Malherbe will join the Springbok squad in New Zealand as injury cover for the clash with the All Blacks.

The 21-year-old, who played off the bench for Western Province last week, made his Super Rugby debut for the Stormers last year and played a more prominent role in their campaign this season.

His call-up will come as something of a shock, but with Coenie Oosthuizen and CJ van der Linde both currently sidelined through injury the former SA Schools representative will provide cover for Jannie du Plessis and Pat Cilliers in Dunedin.

Malherbe trained with the Springboks in June during the England series, and effectively replaces the suspended Eben Etzebeth in the squad.

"Frans' call-up is purely precautionary as our two tighthead props on tour are struggling with injuries," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

"Neither Jannie (du Plessis) nor Pat (Cilliers) trained with us on Tuesday, but we've decided to give them as much time as needed to regain their fitness.

"Frans has been with us before and he knows our calls and moves. He's still young and has a bright future ahead of him," added the Bok coach.

Malherbe's call-up means that veteran lock Bakkies Botha will not be making a Test comeback against the All Blacks, with Flip van der Merwe, Juandre Kruger and Andries Bekker set to cover the position in the absence of the suspended Etzebeth.