South Africa v France, Cape Town, June 12
De Villiers springs surprise
June 8, 2010
South Africa's Ricky Januarie takes to the field, South Africa training session, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, September 11, 2009
Ricky Januarie is a surprise starter ahead of Ruan Pienaar © Getty Images

South Africa coach Peter De Villiers has sprung a major surprise by including Ricky Januarie ahead of Ruan Pienaar in a full-strength South Africa team to face France on Saturday.

De Villiers also named Gio Aplon and Francois Louw - who impressed during their first internationals against Wales last week - while the try-scoring debutant Juan de Jongh, is named amongst the replacements. Lock Flip van der Merwe and centre Jean de Villiers, who left the field with an injured shoulder against Wales, also line up on the Springbok bench.

Bryan Habana, Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger and Wynand Olivier all return to a formidable looking team, but Butch James, originally named in the expanded 27-man squad yesterday, is left out.

"How blessed we are to have so many good options available to us," said De Villiers of Januarie's selection. "He made Juan de Jongh's try [against Wales] by delaying his pass, he put Danie [Rossouw] into the hole in the build-up to Dewald Potgieter's try.

"He made 11 tackles - the second most of all our players and he made a crucial turnover in front of our goal line. I don't know if you want him to be perfect, but we are very happy with him."

De Villiers added that he sees the France game as the toughest his side will face amongst the forthcoming fixtures.

"There is no room for experimenting now as I regard the Test against France as the toughest on the in-coming tours programme. The toughest part of my job is to get the right team, the right combinations on the field."

South Africa: Z Kirchner (Bulls); G Aplon (Stormers), J Fourie (Stormers), W Olivier (Bulls), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Bulls), R Januarie (Stormers); G Steenkamp (Bulls), J Smit (Sharks), BJ Botha (Ulster), D Rossouw (Bulls), V Matfield (Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), F Louw (Stormers), P Spies (Bulls).

Replacements: C Ralepelle (Bulls), J du Plessis (Sharks), F van der Merwe (Bulls), D Potgieter (Bulls), R Pienaar (Sharks), J de Jongh (Stormers), J de Villiers (Western Province).


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