Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Springbok duo handed first starts

Inexperienced pair Francois Hougaard and Flip van der Merwe will win their first starts for South Africa after being named in the line-up for the Tri-Nations encounter against New Zealand in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Scrum-half Hougaard, who has two previous caps coming off the bench, was named in place of injured counterpart Ruan Pienaar, while Van der Merwe comes in for Danie Rossouw, who is among the replacements.

Stormers winger Gio Aplon was also a surprise inclusion at full-back.

There are seven changes in total from the side that were beaten 30-13 by Australia, including a new midfield combination of Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh.

The historic first-ever clash at the FNB Stadium will also mark the 100th appearance of captain John Smit.

South Africa team: G Aplon (Stormers); JP Pietersen (Sharks), J de Jongh (Stormers), J de Villiers (Stormers), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Bulls), Francois Hougaard (Bulls); G Steenkamp (Bulls), J Smit (Sharks), J du Plessis (Sharks), F van der Merwe (Bulls), V Matfield (Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), J Smith (Cheetahs), P Spies (Bulls).

Replacements: C Ralepelle (Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs), D Rossouw (Bulls), F Louw (Stormers), R Januarie (Stormers), B James (Bath), W Olivier (Bulls).


From Belfast Telegraph