Jean De Villiers returns as South Africa skipper

Last Updated: Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 19:10

Fit-again Jean de Villiers will lead South Africa in the Rugby Championship against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand after coach Heyneke Meyer named a 30-man squad on Saturday.

A knee injury sidelined the 33-year-old inside centre during mid-year Test victories at home to Wales (twice) and Scotland.

South Africa begin the six-match southern hemisphere series against Argentina on August 16 in Pretoria.

"It is great to have Jean back to lead our side in the Rugby Championship and I am sure he will slot in without any difficulty," said Meyer.

Legendary lock and most capped Springbok Victor Matfield, who stood in for De Villiers as skipper, is among the 17 forwards named.

Eben Etzebeth, another lock, is included despite playing no top-level rugby this year due to injuries.

South Africa must tackle the Pumas, Wallabies and All Blacks without first-choice scrum-half Fourie du Preez.

The veteran Japan-based star, who helped the Springboks win the 2007 Rugby World Cup, injured an ankle against Wales and will not play again this year.

His absence leaves Ireland-based Ruan Pienaar, Francois Hougaard and uncapped Cobus Reinach contesting the No.9 green and gold shirt.

There will also be plenty of competition for the No.10 playmaker role between incumbent Morne Steyn, rapidly-improving Handre Pollard and Patrick Lambie.
Squad

Backs: Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Willie le Roux, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn, Jean de Villiers (capt)

Forwards: Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Eben Etzebeth, Lodewyk de Jager, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen

AFP

First Published: Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 19:10

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