Rugby-Springboks pick five uncapped players for Argentina clash
WORCESTER, South Africa, Aug 4 - South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer on Saturday announced five uncapped players in the 30-man Springbok squad for the two Rugby Championship tests against Argentina.
Wing JJ Engelbrecht, fly half Elton Jantjies and scrum half Jano Vermaak were in the squad for the series against England in June but did not play. Flank Siya Kolisi and prop Pat Cilliers make the grade after impressing in the Super Rugby competition.
Ryan Kankowski and centre Wynand Olivier, who have signed contracts to play in Japan, get the chop, allowing the experienced Pierre Spies to keep his place. Francois Steyn returns after missing the last England test to get married.
Argentina make their debut in the southern hemisphere competition - which includes World Cup winners New Zealand and Australia - in Cape Town on Aug. 18, before heading home for the second test in Mendoza on Aug. 25.
"The Rugby Championship is going to be very tough and a few youngsters are going to need to put their hands up because we're playing against the best teams in the world," Meyer told reporters in Worcester on Saturday. "We'll need to improve every game and we'd like to keep some continuity in the squad."
Meyer named seven front-row players, including the front row of the Sharks team that got to the Super Rugby final - loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and his brother, tighthead Jannie.
The squad, skippered by Jean de Villiers, will assemble in Cape Town on Sunday. Meyer said he could make changes before the Springboks take on Australia and New Zealand.
"It's a big challenge, playing six tests against the best teams in the world in eight weeks and we now have to ensure we improve on how we played against England," he said.
Squad: Zane Kirchner, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen, Bryan Habana, Lwazi Mvovo, Francois Hougaard, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (c), Francois Steyn, Morne Steyn, Elton Jantjies, Ruan Pienaar, Jano Vermaak, Keegan Daniel, Pierre Spies, Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Jacques Potgieter, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, Juandre Kruger, Eben Etzebeth, Flip van der Merwe, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Tendai Mtawarira, Dean Greyling, Pat Cilliers. (Reporting by Ken Borland, editing by Matt Falloon)
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