BLOEMFONTEIN (Reuters) - South Africa have dropped veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn for their tour of Europe next month and included four uncapped players for tests against England, Italy and Wales.
Coach Allister Coetzee has drafted in flanks Roelof Smit and Jean-Luc du Preez, wing Sergeal Petersen and centre Francois Venter, with a number of established players missing out.
Steyn is one of those, paying the price perhaps for a static performance in the record 57-15 home loss to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship earlier this month, while Francois Hougaard, Juan de Jongh, Francois Louw and Julian Redelinghuys are all injured.
Other players not considered include Jan Serfontein, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Marcell Coetzee, Coenie Oosthuizen and Bismarck du Plessis.
Loose-forward Duane Vermeulen has been told he must work on his conditioning, though he would have missed part of the tour with his wife due to give birth next month.
Wings Ruan Combrinck, JP Pietersen and 2007 Rugby World-winning prop Jannie du Plessis are all returning.
“It is very pleasing to see the return JP and Jannie as their experience will be vital for us, as well as Ruan, who is now fully fit again,” Coetzee said in a press release from SA Rugby on Saturday.
“They are welcome additions to the squad because we have a long list of injured players who are unfortunately not available for selection. We prefer to see it as an amazing opportunity for the players selected in the squad. We are looking forward to turn things around on tour against quality opposition.”
Coetzee selected a separate squad for the opening match of the tour against the Barbarians on Nov. 5.
It is a game that falls outside of the international fixture window, meaning he could only consider home-based players, 12 of who are uncapped.
“It is great to have such a big group of young, exciting players with us for the Barbarians match. I view this as a great opportunity to start building for the future.
The selection of many of these players are part of our road map for 2019 (World Cup),” Coetzee said.
The Springboks will play England at Twickenham on Nov. 12, before clashing with Italy and Wales on consecutive Saturdays after that.
Squad to face Barbarians:
Forwards: Lourens Adriaanse, Nizaam Carr, Uzair Cassiem, Lood de Jager, Jean-Luc du Preez, Thomas du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Lizo Gqoboka, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Roelof Smit, Adriaan Strauss (captain).
Backs: Ruan Combrinck, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Rudy Paige, Sergeal Petersen, Tian Schoeman, Jamba Ulengo, Piet van Zyl, Francois Venter.
Squad to face England, Italy and Wales:
Forwards: Willem Alberts, Lood de Jager, Jannie du Plessis, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Jaco Kriel, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Oupa Mohoje, Roelof Smit, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Warren Whiteley.
Backs: Ruan Combrinck, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Pat Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lionel Mapoe, Rudy Paige, Sergeal Petersen, JP Pietersen, Francois Venter.
Reporting by Nick Said, editing Pritha Sarkar