Bryan Habana cast adrift by Boks selectors

by AFP

South Africa coach Allister Coetzee went for broke in a bid to end a dreadful 2016 on a high for the Springboks by dropping veteran wing Bryan Habana and including three debutants in his side to play Wales.

South Africa have lost seven of 11 Tests this year, equalling their record for the most defeats in a season since returning to international Rugby in 1992 from apartheid-induced isolation.

They hit a new low last week as they suffered a maiden loss to Italy, going down 20-18 in Florence.

Habana returned from injury to score the opening try against Italy, taking his tally to 67 tries - just two shy of the all-time Test record - in 124 appearances.

This is the first time veteran wing Habana has been dropped in his international career. He doesn't even feature on the bench.

Whenever fit and available, Habana has been included in Springbok matchday squads since making his debut in 2004. Of his 124 Tests, the 33-year-old has made an impressive 122 starts.

Habana's place against Wales is taken by debutant Jamba Ulengo, who featured in the tour-opening non-cap draw with the Barbarians at Wembley earlier this month.

The other new caps on show at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on Saturday will be Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Uzair Cassiem.

Another uncapped player - Jean-Luc du Preez - could make his debut off the bench.

Coetzee's starting XV will feature 14 players who will be based in South Africa for next year's Super Rugby tournament, with a further seven on the bench.

"Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and necessity to build towards 2019.” - Allister Coetzee 

Explaining his team selection, Coetzee said he had to start looking towards the next World Cup in Japan, in three years' time.

"We have a less experienced team, but I want to see some energy and an improved performance," the under-pressure coach said.

"Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and necessity to build towards 2019.”


South Africa (1-23)
1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. Adriaan Strauss (c),
3. Lourens Adriaanse
4. Pieter-Steph du Toit
5. Lood de Jager
6. Nizaam Carr
7. Uzair Cassiem
8. Warren Whiteley
9. Faf de Klerk
10. Elton Jantjies
11. Jamba Ulengo
12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg
13. Francois Venter
14. Ruan Combrinck
15. Johan Goosen


16. Malcolm Marx
17. Steven Kitshoff
18. Trevor Nyakane
19. Franco Mostert
20. Jean-Luc du Preez
21. Piet van Zyl 
22. Pat Lambie

23. Lionel Mapoe