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Boks drop Botha and Mtawarira

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has dropped front-row pair BJ Botha and Tendai Mtawarira from his squad for Saturday's Tri-Nations showdown with New Zealand in Johannesburg.

Centre Jaque Fourie is suspended, while Frans Steyn and Ryan Kankowski are both unavailable through injury. Other notable absentees are Andries Bekker and Ruan Pienaar, both still sidelined with knocks.

The matchday 22 is set to be announced on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, France-based utility back Steyn has blasted suggestions he no longer has the heart to play for the Springboks.

The Racing Metro player was injured in a pre-season game 10 days ago and has since been ruled out of the clash at FNB Stadium. Prior to his omission, though, there had been several reports of a breakdown in communication between himself and De Villiers.

But speaking to Rapport, he said: "If it's just up to me, nothing will keep me from the Springbok team. I have the heart to play for the Boks and will die for my country on the field."

Steyn is still in the frame for selection in the remaining two home Tri-Nations games against Australia on August 28 and September 4, but concedes he has to wait for permission from his club before travelling to South Africa.

He continued: "I have not yet been released by Racing Metro and can't just go AWOL. I have a contract with them that I have to honour. I don't have a Bok contract."

South Africa forwards: Schalk Burger (Stormers), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Francois Louw (Stormers), Victor Matfield (Bulls), Dewald Potgieter (Bulls), Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), Danie Rossouw (Bulls), John Smit (Sharks), Juan Smith (Cheetahs), Pierre Spies (Bulls), Gurthro Steenkamp (Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs), Flip van der Merwe (Bulls).

Backs: Gio Aplon (Stormers), Juan de Jongh (Stormers), Jean de Villiers (Stormers), Bryan Habana (Stormers), Francois Hougaard (Bulls), Ricky Januarie (Stormers), Butch James (Bath), Wynand Olivier (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Morne Steyn (Bulls).


From Belfast Telegraph