Following an impressive performance for the Cheetahs against the British & Irish Lions, flanker Heinrich Brussow has been named in the South Africa team for Saturday’s first Test against the Lions at ABSA Stadium in Durban (kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time).
South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has selected a squad of 22 players with a combined total of 707 caps for the first Test of the 2009 British & Irish Lions Series at the ABSA Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
John Smit, the most experienced member of the squad, will lead the Springboks out in their first duel against the British & Irish Lions since 1997.
16 players in the ‘Boks’ matchday 22 participated in their previous Test match, against England at Twickenham in November of last year.
Interestingly, from an Irish viewpoint, 10 of the players in Saturday’s squad were on duty when Ireland beat the ‘Boks 32-15 at Lansdowne Road back in November 2006.
Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers, Francois Steyn, Ricky Januarie, skipper Smit, Juan Smith, Danie Rossouw and Pierre Spies all started against Ireland, while Ruan Pienaar and JP Pietersen had bench roles.
The Test will be the 44th encounter between the Springboks and the Lions since 1891. South Africa has won 21, the Lions 16 and 6 Tests have been drawn.
Saturday’s encounter will also be the fourth between the Springboks and the Lions to be played in Durban.
The hosts have won two of the previous three (1924 and 1962) and the Lions one (1997).
Cheetahs flanker Heinrich Brussow will make his first Test start after earning his first cap as a replacement against England last November.
Brussow was initially called into the extended squad as cover for calf injury victim Schalk Burger but the management have obviously been impressed enough with his recent form to hand his starting berth.
Bulls out-half Morne Steyn is the only uncapped player in de Villiers’ squad.
SOUTH AFRICA TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v British & Irish Lions, 2009 Test series, ABSA Stadium, Durban, Saturday, June 20, kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time):
15. Francois Steyn (Sharks)
14. JP Pietersen (Sharks)
13. Adrian Jacobs (Sharks)
12. Jean de Villiers (Stormers)
11. Bryan Habana (Bulls)
10. Ruan Pienaar (Sharks)
9. Fourie du Preez (Bulls)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks)
2. Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks)
3. John Smit (Sharks) (capt)
4. Bakkies Botha (Bulls)
5. Victor Matfield (Bulls)
6. Heinrich Brussow (Cheetahs)
7. Juan Smith (Cheetahs)
8. Pierre Spies (Bulls)
16. Gurthro Steenkamp (Bulls)
17. Deon Carstens (Sharks)
18. Andries Bekker (Stormers)
19. Danie Rossouw (Bulls)
20. Ricky Januarie (Stormers)
21. Jaque Fourie (Lions)
22. Morne Steyn (Bulls)