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Springboks to sort out Pienaar’s problems

By Niall Crozier

Ruan Pienaar’s South Africa call-up could not be more timely.

That’s the opinion of Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin who has watched his big money Springbok signing struggle in recent weeks.

With tighthead BJ Botha nursing a wrist injury and therefore not considered, Pienaar is the only one of Ulster’s five South Africans to have been called up by Boks coach Peter de Villiers.

McLaughlin sees that a big plus for the player.

“I think Ruan’s inclusion in the South Africa squad will be really good for him.

“I believe he will return stronger; it has come at a good time,” McLaughlin said.

Pienaar — who joined the squad in Johannesburg on Sunday — is one of only two overseas players in the 30, the other being Racing Metro back Frans Steyn. However he will only become available after Saturday’s Test against Ireland in Dublin.

With skipper John Smit ruled out by injury the Boks will be led by Ulster’s Pedrie Wannenburg’s former Vodacom Blue Bulls colleague, Victor Matfield.

As well as Smit and Botha, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Olivier, Andries Bekker, Fourie du Preez, Heinrich Brüssow, JP Pietersen, Gurthrö Steenkamp, and Butch James were unavailable because of injury.

Experienced centre Adi Jacobs has been drafted into the Springbok camp as a precaution because of injury concerns over Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh.

The Vodacom Western Province pair suffered injuries during Saturday’s 30-10 Absa Currie Cup final defeat by Sharks.

Club colleague, scrum-half Ricky Januarie, was withdrawn from the touring squad on Sunday after suffering an injury in the same match.

The tourists have included six uncapped players for their five-match tour of Britain and Ireland.

The newcomers are Under-20 pair Elton Jantjies (fly-half) and Patrick Lambie (fly-half/full-back), Sharks trio Lwazi Mvovo (wing) and backrowers Willem Alberts and Keegan Daniel, plus Vodacom Cheetahs loosehead Coenie Oosthuizen.

South Africa: Backs: G Aplon (Vodacom Western Province), B Basson (Vodacom Blue Bulls), J de Jongh (Vodacom Western Province), J de Villiers (Vodacom Western Province), F Hougaard (Vodacom Blue Bulls), B Habana (Vodacom Western Province), E Jantjies (Xerox Golden Lions),P Lambie (Sharks); L Mvovo (Sharks), R Pienaar (Ulster), F Steyn (Racing Metro), M Steyn (Vodacom Blue Bulls).

Forwards: W Alberts (Sharks), B Botha (Vodacom Blue Bulls), S Burger (Vodacom Western Province), K Daniel (Sharks), B du Plessis (Sharks), J du Plessis (Sharks), A Hargreaves (Sharks), R Kankowski (Sharks), V Matfield (captain, Vodacom Blue Bulls), T Mtawarira (Sharks), C Oosthuizen (Vodacom Cheetahs), C Ralepelle (Vodacom Blue Bulls), J Smith (Vodacom Cheetahs), P Spies (Vodacom Blue Bulls), A Strauss (Vodacom Cheetahs), C J van der Linde (Vodacom Cheetahs), F van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls).

The Springboks’ tour fixtures are: November 6 v Ireland (Dublin); November 13 v Wales (Cardiff); November 20 v Scotland (Edinburgh); November 27 v England (Twickenham); December 4 v Barbarians (Twickenham).

Belfast Telegraph

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