World Cup - Meyer calls on old guard for European tour

South Africa have stepped up their preparations for the 2015 World Cup with the recall of stalwarts Bakkies Botha and Jacque Fourie for their season-ending European tour next month.

Reuters
World Cup - Meyer calls on old guard for European tour
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Bakkies Botha in action for South Africa in 2011 (Icon Sport)

The Springboks face Wales on Nov. 9, travel to Murrayfield to meet Scotland on Nov. 17 and finish their season in Paris against France on Nov. 23.

Toulon lock Botha and Japan-based centre Fourie have not worn their national team jersey since the 2011 World Cup but between them have 145 international appearances.

Along with the recent recall of scrumhalf Fourie du Preez for the Rugby Championship, South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer is re-introducing World Cup winners from 2007 into the squad, also including Japan-based wing JP Pietersen.

"It will be great to have Bakkies, Jaque and JP in the squad - all of them are really excited to play for the Springboks again, they have heaps of experience and are world-class players," Meyer said in a SARU statement on Monday.

Fit-again Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen returns, along with Stormers wing Gio Aplon.

A quartet of uncapped players will also be taken on tour - prop Frans Malherbe from the Stormers, his provincial team mates, scrumhalf Louis Schreuder and hooker Scarra Ntubeni and Sharks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit.

"Scarra's inclusion, like that of Gio, is also just reward for continuous great form. He's still young and will learn a lot from our two front-line hookers, who both rate amongst the best in the world, on this tour. I want to expose him to this environment and the Springbok ethos and I'm very excited to work with him," Meyer said.

"Pieter-Steph missed a large part of the season because of injury but has been exceptional since his return to the playing field last month, while we've always rated Frans very highly and look forward to working with him again.

"And Louis has always been on our radar - he is only 23, fits in with the way we want to play and was impressive when he worked with us in June."

Meyer believes all three European opponents will offer a challenge to the 2013 Rugby Championship runners-up.

"The Welsh have won the Six Nations the last two seasons. It's our first test against them since the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and they will be fired up at the Millennium Stadium," he said.

"This year Scotland finished third in the Six Nations, and in our two tests against them in the last two seasons they have been a tough nut to crack. We're not expecting anything different at Murrayfield.

"We finish off against France at the Stade de France, where the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 2007. But we've not beaten Les Bleus in France since 1997 and will have to be sharp and focused for this last test of a challenging season."

Squad:

Forwards - Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Tendai Mtawarira, Scarra Ntubeni, Coenie Oosthuizen, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen

Backs - Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers (captain), Fourie du Preez, JJ Engelbrecht, Jacque Fourie, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Louis Schreuder, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn

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