4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
The 25-year-old was rushed into the Bok starting line-up on Monday afternoon following the horrible ankle injury suffered by De Wet Barry earlier in the day. It was a routine training exercise, but x-rays revealed that Barry had fractured cartilage and suffered ligament damage to his left ankle, ruling him out for at least six weeks.
Barry's injury, just five days ahead of the Test, is a massive blow to the team, which has also lost the likes of Ashwin Willemse and Joe van Niekerk. Jaque Fourie, one of the country's most promising back talents, has been recalled to the squad after incurring a hamstring injury just two days into the camp here. He passed a fitness test on Monday and will take Julies' place on the bench. "It was just a freak accident, one of those things that happen. It's a big setback for us," said coach Jake White. "Especially in defence, where he would have brought much-needed experience. You can't buy that kind of experience. He also had a calming influence on the team and the men at the back."
"But I rate Wayne highly and he'll definitely bring other attributes to the team. We'll use those strengths to our advantage," said White.
Julies, who's played just one Test, against Spain at the 1999 World Cup, will join Marius Joubert in midfield, a combination that flourished at Boland in the late 90s. The duo, however, come up against arguably the best combination in world rugby, Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll - a battle which will test the international calibre and character of both players.
There were few surprises when White announced his first team on Monday, naming three uncapped men in the starting line-up. Eddie Andrews will wear the number three jersey, Fourie du Preez will win his first cap at scrumhalf and Henno Mentz gets his chance on the wing.
If there was anything to raise a few eyebrows it was Pedrie Wannenburg's inclusion at eighthman. The Blue Bulls man had always been earmarked by White to play at the back of the scrum, but a lower-back injury suffered in the gym last week cast some doubt on his fitness. He, however, took part in all the training sessions in an icy Bloemfontein on Monday and proved he was fit to face the Irish.
White has also bracketed Faan Rautenbach and CJ van der Linde on the bench, but will make a decision on the fitness of Rautenbach, who's played precious little rugby this year, only on Thursday.
Andrews, 27, one of the Super 12 finds of the season, said he could not wait to get on to the field and prove to the world he was up to Test rugby: "This is nearly unbelievable, but I've put in a lot of hard work over the last two years and can't wait to stand in front of South Africa and sing the anthem."
Jacques van der Westhuyzen - The Star.