Rugby: 'Great' du Preez back for clutch Australian test

By David Leggat

Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez of South Africa. Photo / Getty Images
Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez of South Africa. Photo / Getty Images

South African coach Heyneke Meyer has recalled veteran halfback Fourie du Preez to the starting side for their Rugby Championship test against Australia.

The Newlands match early on Sunday (NZT) will be du Preez's first start in the Springbok No.9 jersey since the 2011 World Cup quarter-final loss to the Wallabies. He then left to play club rugby in Japan.

The presence of du Preez means Ruan Pienaar has been relegated to the bench although Meyer stressed that the selection, along with Adrian Strauss ahead of Bismarck du Plessis at hooker, was part of his rest and rotation policy.

He did, however, praise du Preez's fast and accurate service, which he felt he had improved during his time in Japan.

"While Ruan is an outstanding scrumhalf and has built experience, I just believe that Fourie is in a league of his own in that position," Meyer said. "He has enormous influence and leadership ability, and is a good organiser."

Five-eighth Morne Steyn is also marking his 50-test milestone against the Wallabies.

- AAP

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