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RugbyU: South Africa call up Hougaard and Mvovo

03 September 2016, 08:41

Johannesburg, Aug 30, 2016 (AFP) -Struggling Springboks have called up backs Francois Hougaard and Lwazi Mvovo for Rugby Championship Tests in Australia and New Zealand during September.

A knee injury ruled winger-cum-scrum-half Hougaard out of a lucky home win and a deserved away loss against Argentina when the competition began this month.

Winger Mvovo is surprisingly recalled having been axed after a fortunate 2-1 series victory over Ireland last June, with his discomfort under the high ball particularly noticeable.

The only other change to the squad that travelled to Argentina last week is the injury-enforced absence of winger Ruan Combrinck.

He fractured a leg during the 26-24 loss in Salta and a South African Rugby spokesman said he could be out of action for six weeks, preventing him playing again in the Championship this season.

Off-form fly-half Elton Jantjies suffered bruising to a thigh in Argentina and a decision on his availability for the Australia Test in Brisbane on September 10 will be made next week.

Other under-performing Springboks like inside centre Damian de Allende, lock Lood de Jager and loose forward Francois Louw get another chance from coach Allister Coetzee.

Centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg continues to be overlooked despite an outstanding Super Rugby campaign with runners-up Golden Lions.

Lock Pieter-Steph du Toit and loose forward Jaco Kriel are in the Australasia-bound squad and many pundits believe they deserve starting places rather than continually coming off the bench.

There has also been growing criticism of skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss since his appointment as successor to retired centre Jean de Villiers this season.

The Johannesburg Star gave him a 2/10 rating after the defeat in Argentina, the first time South Africa have lost in the South American country.

"Captain... of what exactly?" asked the Star. "Most of the time it seemed he was just loitering around the breakdown."

But Coetzee has shown considerable loyalty to his players since replacing Heyneke Meyer last April and dropping Strauss now seems unlikely.

"We are not happy with where we find ourselves after the first two matches of the campaign," admitted the coach, who formerly handled Cape Town-based Super Rugby outfit Western Province.

"Australia will pose an even tougher challenge (than Argentina) and it is important that we deliver a much-improved performance in Brisbane."

World champions New Zealand top the table with 10 points after convincing home and away bonus-point victories over Australia.

South Africa and Argentina have five points each and defending champions Australia are bottom without a without.


Forwards (16): Lourens Adriaanse, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Jaco Kriel, Francois Louw, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Warren Whiteley

Backs (12): Damian de Allende, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Juan de Jongh, Faf de Klerk, Jesse Kriel, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Morne Steyn



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