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Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Friday, 5 November 2010

Jean de Villiers to start for SA against Ireland

Ireland v South Africa
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday 6 November Kick-off: 1730 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC Sport Website and BBC Radio Ulster MW; text commentary on BBC Sport website

Jean de Villiers in action for Western Province
De Villiers has returned home to boost his 2011 World Cup hopes

South Africa centre Jean de Villiers will start the world champions' Test against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday after passing a fitness test.

The 29-year-old former Munster player was a doubt because of a groin injury but has been given the all-clear to partner Zane Kirchner in midfield.

Boks coach Peter de Villiers said: "We have been hard hit by injuries so to have Jean available is a major boost."

Uncapped back-row Keegan Daniel comes onto the bench for Willem Alberts.

Alberts, also uncapped, has failed to recover from a calf strain.

Lock Victor Matfield captains the team and will equal the Springboks' appearance record with his 102nd Test.


De Villiers' recovery from injury is a huge relief for the coach, who is without the experienced Jaque Fourie and the emerging Juan de Jongh, both absent injured.

"[Jean] is an experienced international and is in charge of the backs on tour so it's great to see him back on the field," Peter de Villiers added.

"We made a contingency plan and trained with that in mind, but with Jean's knowledge of Ireland's players having played for Munster, it was important to have him available for this match."

De Villiers spent the 2009-10 season playing for Munster before returning to South Africa to play for Western Province, who lost in the Currie Cup final last weekend.

Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar will start in an under-strength backline, which features Gio Aplon at full-back and Kirchner at outside centre.

Deon (Stegmann) is an open-side in the traditional style and has been outstanding for his province

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers

Kirchner was only added to the 30-man squad following the withdrawal of scrum-half Ricky Januarie.

The world champions are still able to pick a strong pack although flanker Deon Stegmann will win his first cap.

Stegmann, the 24-year-old Blue Bulls back-rower, was only a late call-up to the Springboks squad for the injured Schalk Burger, who along with De Jongh was also injured in the Currie Cup final.

Burger, 27, capped 63 times, has a broken rib, while De Jongh, 22, who has six caps, has a hairline fracture to his left ankle.

In all, 13 players have been forced out of the tour by injury.


The others that are unfit are captain John Smit, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Olivier, Andries Bekker, Fourie du Preez, Heinrich Brussow, JP Pietersen, Gurthro Steenkamp, Butch James and BJ Botha.

"It's a new-look side but with 13 season-ending injuries it couldn't be anything else," said Peter de Villiers.

"But we're looking on the positive side and this is a great opportunity to test some new players in the toughest conditions," added the coach.

South Africa only arrived in Dublin on Thursday after their domestic Currie Cup final last weekend, leaving them with little time to prepare a new-look side for this tour.

Their clash with Ireland in Dublin will be followed by Tests against Wales, England and Scotland.

South Africa: G Aplon; B Basson, Z Kirchner, J de Villiers, B Habana; M Steyn, R Pienaar; T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis, Bakkies Botha, V Matfield, D Stegmann, J Smith, P Spies.

Replacements: C Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, F van der Merwe, K Daniel, F Hougaard, A Jacobs, P Lambie.

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see also
Ireland 21-23 South Africa
06 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
D'Arcy ready for Springbok brawn
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O'Driscoll fit to face Springboks
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BBC to screen autumn rugby Tests
26 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union
O'Driscoll could still face Boks
28 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union
Steenkamp out of Springboks tour
04 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union
Bath hit by James' surgery blow
14 Sep 10 |  Bath
South Africa 39-41 Australia
04 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union

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