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Springboks to debut Malherbe vs. Wales in Cardiff

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The Canadian Press
11/6/2013 9:21:46 AM
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CARDIFF -- The Springboks handed tighthead prop Frans Malherbe a test debut and recalled veteran backs Jaque Fourie and JP Pietersen for the tour opener against Six Nations champion Wales at Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Malherbe, from Western Province, replaced Jannie du Plessis, who didn't make the tour because of a chronic shoulder injury and broken hand.

Another uncapped player, Sharks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, was in the reserves. He would have played earlier this season if he hadn't injured his sternum, coach Heyneke Meyer said on Wednesday.

There are five changes from the starters who lost an epic match to the All Blacks at Ellis Park on Oct. 5.

The centre Fourie last appeared for South Africa at the 2011 World Cup, while Pietersen hasn't been available all year until now.

The only other change in the forwards has Flip van der Merwe locking with Eben Etzebeth.

"Frans has big boots to fill, but he's been with us for most of 2012 and shown good form since recovering from injury recently, and we don't have any doubts that he has what it takes to make the step up," Meyer said.

"He'll have two players with more than 50 test caps each next to him in the scrum (Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira), and his general workrate across the field and on defence is very good. I'm very happy for Frans."

The inclusion of Fourie and Pietersen means all but fullback Pat Lambie, in for Zane Kirchner, in the backline have at least 40 caps.

"We're very fortunate to have two world-class players in JP and Jaque and I wanted to get then into the action as soon as possible," Meyer said. "It was clear from our training sessions thus far that they are in great form and ready for test rugby."

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South Africa: Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malberhe, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Ruan Pienaar, JJ Engelbrecht, Willie le Roux.

South Africa (Photo: Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
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