Rugby Championship News

De Villiers out of Rugby Championship opener





South Africa’s head coach Heyneke Meyer has left regular captain Jean de Villiers out of his Springbok squad that will contest the 2015 Rugby Championship opening Test against Australia.

The 2015 Rugby Championship will have just three rounds instead of six and the Springboks start their campaign in Brisbane with a match against Australia’s Wallabies.

The Springboks then return to South Africa where they will host New Zealand’s All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

De Villiers played his first rugby match on Saturday after recovering from a career-threatening knee injury and is expected to continue his comeback with Western Province in Currie Cup warm-up games.

De Villiers came off the bench for the final 20 minutes of a 46-10 Springboks’ triumph over a World XV and could return to the Springbok squad for South Africa’s Test against Argentina on August 8 in Durban.

Looking sharp despite the long lay-off, the 34-year-old De Villiers set up the fifth of seven tries scored by the Springboks in a non-cap Cape Town exhibition match.

“I was probably more nervous than Jean when he took to the field,” admitted Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer.

“But he soon demonstrated that he is ready for international rugby.”

“The spirit he showed to get back to this level is amazing and it lifted all the guys.”

De Villiers said that was excited to wear the green and gold again as South Africa began a five-match countdown to the Rugby World Cup in England during September and October.

“I still have a long way to go, but it was fantastic to be part of this match,” he said.

Apart from De Villiers, the matchday squad for the World XV game has been retained and nine players added for the Brisbane clash with the Wallabies.

Veteran lock Victor Matfield continues as captain in the absence of De Villiers.

Springbok Squad

Forwards: Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Marcell Coetzee, Lood de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Victor Matfield (capt), Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss, Heinke van der Merwe, Warren Whiteley

Backs: Damian De Allende, Bryan Habana, Jesse Kriel, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn

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