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Boks forced into late changes

Fri, 28 Sep 2012 11:06
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Backline reshuffle in Pretoria
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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has been forced into making late changes to his team for the Rugby Championship encounter with Australia in Pretoria on Saturday.

World Cup-winning centre Frans Steyn has failed a fitness test at the captain's run on Friday, following a freak accident at training earlier this week when he injured his ankle.

Captain Jean de Villiers has been moved to No.12, with rookie Jaco Taute making his Test debut at No.13.

Juan de Jongh will come in on the bench.

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen has also been ruled out of the Loftus Test, after having only returned from a lengthy injury lay-off in a Currie Cup game with the Free State Cheetahs last week.

Oosthuizen, who injured his neck against England in June, complained of 'general stiffness' earlier in the week - after his second-half cameo with the Cheetahs last week.

He has been replaced by Pat Cilliers on the bench.

"Frans went for a number of scans and x-rays this week and after specialist consultation it was decided that he should rather not play against Australia," said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

"Coenie, who played 35 minutes of rugby for the Free State Cheetahs last weekend, had stiffness in the neck and shoulder area after the game.

"After sitting out training on Monday, he felt much better and took part in the field sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, but based on the nature of his injury and the initial symptoms early in the week, we felt that it would be better to withdraw him from the Test.

"Coenie is a young player who has a lot of rugby ahead of him and with injuries like these it's always better to gradually build him back to full match fitness."

Commenting on the injuries, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said: "Losing Frans and Coenie so close to the Test is a big setback, but we will always consider player welfare first.

"I'm very excited to see what Jaco will bring to this team and it's great to have an experienced player like Juan as back-up. Pat has been part of this squad for almost two months now and he will slot in easily."

South African - revised: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Pat Lambie.

Date: Saturday, September 29
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Greg Garner (England)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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