Rugby: South Africa takes a punt on rookies

Heyneke Meyer, Springboks head coach. Photo / Getty Images
Heyneke Meyer, Springboks head coach. Photo / Getty Images

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has gambled by choosing uncapped Johan Goosen and Duane Vermeulen in his Rugby Championship squad for away tests against Australia and New Zealand next month.

Five-eighths Goosen and No 8 Vermeulen have just returned to Currie Cup action after long injury lay-offs and respective coaches Naka Drotske of the Cheetahs and Allister Coetzee of the Stormers believe they are not ready for test action.

However, Meyer is desperate to silence critics after the public and media turned on him following an undeserved 16-16 draw away to newcomers Argentina last weekend in the Southern Hemisphere championship.

The coach defended his selections in a statement: "While Duane and Johan are medically fit, their coaches felt it necessary that they get more game time in the Currie Cup this weekend.

"But as we do not have a lot of time to prepare and need as much time with them as possible to get them used to our structures and game plans, the decision was taken to select them for the tour."

The Springboks face Australia, reeling from two defeats in as many weekends by New Zealand, on September 8 in Perth and the rampant All Blacks in Dunedin a week later.

Springbok squad:

Jean de Villiers (c), Bryan Habana, Johan Goosen, Francois Hougaard, Juan de Jongh, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn, Morne Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Craig Burden, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Dean Greyling, Juandre Kruger, Tiaan Liebenberg, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Jacques Potgieter, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.

- AAP

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