South African Rugby
Boks recall six overseas stars
May 22, 2010
Butch James will be back in action for the Springboks against Wales © Getty Images
Springbok coach Peter De Villiers has named a strong side to face Wales at the Millennium Stadium on June 5, recalling overseas stars Butch James, Jean de Villiers and Francois Steyn to the starting XV.
Bath's James will line up at inside-centre, with the Sharks' Ruan Pienaar at No.10, while Steyn starts at fullback and de Villiers at No.13. Toulon No.8 Joe van Niekerk also returns from the wilderness while BJ Botha and CJ van der Linde start either side of skipper John Smit in the front-row.
With the game taking place only a week after the Super 14 final, between the Bulls and Stormers, De Villiers pledged to include overseas players with a view to the 2011 World Cup.
Despite their involvement in the finals there are also several faces from the Bulls and Stormers, with the uncapped Gio Aplon set to start on the wing and his Stormers colleague Francois Louw also set for a debut after being named in the back-row along with Bulls flanker Dewald Potgieter.
On the bench, Cheetahs wing Bjorn Basson, Stormers centre Juan de Jongh and Sharks lock Alistair Hargreaves are all set for debuts.
"All six of them are talented in their own right and four have them have played for the Boks in the last 12 months," De Villiers said of his overseas picks. "Only Butch and Big Joe have not played since 2008 but they are both quality players who have been in good form for their clubs.
"Butch offers versatility in that he can play at fly-half and he brings a physical edge to the defence, which we will need against Wales. Joe has been one of the top loose forwards in France for the past two seasons and in our discussions with him recently he has said he is raring to go. He is an athletic No.8 who carries the ball well which complements the other two players in the back row".
South Africa: Frans Steyn (Racing Metro); Gio Aplon (Stormers), Jean de Villiers (Munster), Butch James (Bath), Odwa Ndungane (Sharks); Ruan Pienaar (Sharks), Ricky Januarie (Stormers), CJ van der Linde (Leinster), John Smit (Sharks), BJ Botha (Ulster), Danie Rossouw (Bulls), Andries Bekker (Stormers), Francois Louw (Stormers), Dewald Potgieter (Bulls), Joe van Niekerk (Toulon)
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Alistair Hargreaves (Sharks), Ryan Kankowski (Sharks), Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs), Juan de Jongh (Stormers), Bjorn Basson (Cheetahs)