South Africa recall World Cup winners Pietersen, Fourie

Nick Said
(Blank Headline Received)
South Africa's JP Pietersen is tackled by England's Geoff Parling (5) during their third rugby union test match in Port Elizabeth June 23, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

By Nick Said

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa have recalled winger JP Pietersen and centre Jaque Fourie after long absences to face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday in the first test of their European tour.

Fourie has not played for the Springboks since the 2011 World Cup after deciding to continue his rugby career in Japan, while Pietersen has not featured this year.

Both played in the 2007 World Cup-winning campaign and are among five key backline players from that tournament named in the team by coach Heyneke Meyer along with captain Jean de Villiers, wing Bryan Habana and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez.

"We're very fortunate to have two world class players in JP and Jaque available for selection and I wanted to get then into the action as soon as possible," Meyer said in a South African Rugby Union (SARU) press release on Wednesday.

"They bring a vast amount of experience to the team and it was clear from our training sessions thus far that they are in great form and ready for Test rugby."

Uncapped 22-year-old prop Frans Malherbe also comes in for the injured Jannie du Plessis, while the only other change to the pack of forwards is at lock, with Flip van der Merwe starting next to Eben Etzebeth in the middle row.

"Frans has big boots to fill, but he's been with us for most of 2012 and shown good form since recovering from injury recently and we don't have any doubts that he has what it takes to make the step up," said Meyer.

"He'll have two players with more than 50 Test caps each next to him in the scrum, and his general work-rate across the field and on defence is very good. I'm very happy for Frans."

Pieter-Steph du Toit, could also make his test debut after the lock was included on the bench.

South Africa and Wales last met in Wellington during the pool stage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The Springboks won 17-16 thanks to a late try by Francois Hougaard.

South Africa team:

15-Pat Lambie, 14-JP Pietersen, 13-Jaque Fourie, 12-Jean de Villiers (captain), 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Morne Steyn, 9-Fourie du Preez; 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Willem Alberts, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Flip van der Merwe, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Frans Malherbe, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1-Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16-Adriaan Strauss, 17-Gurthro Steenkamp, 18-Coenie Oosthuizen, 19-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20-Siya Kolisi, 21-Ruan Pienaar, 22-JJ Engelbrecht, 23-Willie le Roux