Rugby Championship News

De Villiers & Du Preez could start for Springboks

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Springbok captain Jean de Villiers and scrum-half Fourie du Preez could start for South Africa against Argentina in Durban this weekend.

Both players missed the Springboks losses to Australia and New Zealand but could return after injury lay-offs according to the Bok team doctor.

“We will see how Jean and Fourie go in training Tuesday, but they took part in our Monday morning session and came through very well,” said Craig Roberts.

The doctor added that three other long-term casualties — centre Jan Serfontein, lock Pieter-Steph du Toit and flanker Willem Alberts — also trained and could be considered for selection against the Pumas, too.

All five missed the narrow Rugby Championship losses away to Australia and at home to New Zealand last month, which have left South Africa needing a win in Durban Saturday to avoid finishing last.

De Villiers had a knee reconstructed after being injured during a Test loss in Wales last November and missed the Super Rugby season.

He came off the Springbok bench last month to play 20 minutes in an exhibition game against a World XV in Cape Town.

A couple of appearances for Western Province in Currie Cup warm-up matches followed for the 34-year-old and he suffered no ill effects.

Tactical kicking maestro Du Preez, 33, is a key cog in the World Cup plans of coach Heyneke Meyer, but last wore the green and gold national team colours a season ago.

Having recovered from a serious injury against Scotland, he was sidelined again recently after pulling up while training with his Japanese club.

But Roberts is optimistic that Meyer can consider both when he names his matchday 23 Wednesday for the final-round fixture.

Youngsters Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende have formed a strong attacking centre partnership in the absence of De Villiers.

And experienced Ruan Pienaar, who lines up with Irish province Ulster, has deputised for 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Du Preez.

The doctor said decisions would be made Tuesday regarding the fitness of a recently injured quartet, props Vincent Koch and Frans Malherbe and loose forwards Marcell Coetzee and Warren Whiteley.

Fly-half Handre Pollard and prop Trevor Nyakane, neither of whom trained Monday, are others whose availability to face the South Americans has to be determined.

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