4 Aug 2008

World Cup stars axed from Bok squad

12:09 pm on 4 August 2008

World Cup stars Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn and Gurthro Steenkamp, and promising wing Odwa Ndungane have been axed from the South Africa rugby squad.

The Springboks will play Argentina in a one-off Test in Johannesburg this weekend before turning their attention to the Tri-Nations and home matches against New Zealand and Australia.

South Africa is third on the Tri-Nations competition points table after picking up an away win against New Zealand in Dunedin last month.

They lost in Wellington and Perth, but with three home games to come are well placed to win their third Tri-Nations title.

Coach Peter de Villiers prefers specialists in all the positions so the versatility of Pienaar and Steyn, two of the most talented players in South Africa, has cost them regular starts.

Forwards: Adriaan Strauss, Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Bismarck du Plessis, Brian Mujati, CJ van der Linde, Joe van Niekerk, Juan Smith, Luke Watson, Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger, Tendai Mtawarira, Victor Matfield (captain)

Backs: Adrian Jacobs, Bryan Habana, Butch James, Conrad Jantjes, Enrico Januarie, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Jongi Nokwe, JP Pietersen, Percy Montgomery