Lambie and Le Roux earn Springboks squad recall

The Rugby Championship
by AFP

Fit-again fly-half Patrick Lambie was recalled by South Africa coach Allister Coetzee Wednesday for Rugby Championship Tests against Australia and New Zealand next month.  

The 25-year-old playmaker was badly concussed during a June Test loss to Ireland in Cape Town and returned to action only last Saturday for Sharks in the Currie Cup.

"Rusty but ready," was the verdict of Sharks coach and former Springboks scrum-half Robert du Preez after Lambie kicked two conversions in less than 20 minutes on the pitch.

However, Coetzee cautioned against assuming that Lambie would replace off-form Elton Jantjies against Australia on October 1 at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria.

"We want to ascertain his readiness and confidence for international rugby or whether he rather needs to play another match in the Currie Cup for the Sharks," he said.

"Patrick has been included in our squad so that our medical and conditioning team can get first-hand feedback."

Willie Le Roux is back in the squad. Photo: Getty ImagesFullback Willie le Roux, axed after poor performances in a fortunate 2-1 series win over Ireland, is also back in a 31-man squad comprising 16 forwards and 15 backs.

Tighthead prop Julian Redelinghuys and lock Lood de Jager have recovered from injuries and were included.

Utility prop Lourens Adriaanse is the only Springbok dropped from the previous squad as South Africa seek to snap a run of three consecutive Rugby Championship losses.

After a last-gasp home win over Argentina, they lost away to the South Americans, Australia and world champions New Zealand.

Coetzee resisted calls from former Springbok players and coaches and pundits for wholesale changes amid widespread social media unhappiness with his team selections.

The coach, who succeeded Heyneke Meyer last April on a four-year contract, had heightened expectations of a clean-out when he said "there would be repercussions" after three straight losses.

Target number one has been Jantjies, who replaced Lambie in Cape Town but has struggled during six subsequent starts to replicate the form that took Golden Lions to the 2016 Super Rugby final.

"Flaky as a croissant," was how one New Zealand pundit described a 26-year-old fly-half whose handling error led to the first All Blacks try in a

41-13 Christchurch rout last Saturday.

After a bright start to his Test career this season, scrum-half Faf de Klerk is also battling to recapture excellent Super Rugby form with the Lions.

There have also been calls for full-back Johan Goosen, centre Juan de Jongh, prop Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira and flankers Francois Louw and Teboho 'Oupa' Mohoje to be dumped.

South Africa squad

Forwards (16): Willem Alberts, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Jaco Kriel, Francois Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Julian Redelinghuys, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Warren Whiteley

Backs (15): Damian de Allende, Johan Goosen,  Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Juan de Jongh, Faf de Klerk, Jesse Kriel, Patrick Lambie, Lionel Mapoe, Malcolm Marx, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Willie le Roux, Morne Steyn