Lambie at outhalf for Springboks
RUGBY:Pat Lambie has earned the backing of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. The outhalf was selected ahead of the experienced Morne Steyn for their opening Test against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Steyn is named on the bench.
Meyer also confirmed that Leinster prop Heinke van der Merwe has been called up to the Springbok squad for the duration of the tour. The loosehead prop played in his only Test for South Africa against Wales five years ago and he toured with the Springboks at the end of the 2009 season.
"Heinke has played for South Africa before and is based in Dublin, making it easy for him to join the squad. I've been following his career and he has been playing well for Leinster, who are the Heineken Cup champions," said Meyer.
The 22-year-old Lambie’s inclusion in the place of the injured Johan Goosen is one of three changes to the team that started the team’s last Test, against New Zealand in Soweto. Like Declan Kidney’s Irish team, South Africa has been decimated by injury. JP Pietersen returns at right wing for injured Bryan Habana while Juandré Kruger takes over at lock for Andries Bekker in one of the positions that Mayer has been concerned about. His anxieties straddle outhalf, number five lock and tight head prop, where Jannie du Pliessis is named.
“I’m excited to see what Pat can bring to the team,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said. “He played very well in the last few weeks of the Absa Currie Cup and hopefully he can bring that momentum with him on Saturday. It’s also good to have JP back. He’s had a great season and will want to finish the season on a high.
“At lock there has been strong competition for the number five jersey all season and now Juandre gets an opportunity again.”
Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar takes his place at scrumhalf while former Munster centre Jean de Villiers passed a fitness test on his hamstring and takes his place there as captain. C J van der Linde is also names on the bench.
For the first time, the Springboks have named an eight-man replacement bench, in line with the new laws that determine a full front-row of two specialist props and a hooker have to be selected.
South Africa:Z Kirchner; JP Pietersen, J Taute, J de Villiers ©, F Hougaard; P Lambie, R Pienaar; T Mtawarira, A Strauss, J du Plessis, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, F Louw, W Alberts, D Vermeulen. Replacements: S Brits, CJ van der Linde, P Cilliers, F van der Merwe, M Coetzee, M Steyn, M de Jongh, LMvovo.
Referee:Wayne Barnes (England)