28 Sep 2013

du Preez back in Boks' starting lineup

8:34 am on 28 September 2013

Fourie du Preez will end a 23-month absence from the Springboks starting line-up when he faces Australia on Sunday in the Rugby Championship.

The 31-year-old halfback replaces Ruan Pienaar for the match at Newlands in Cape Town.

Japan-based du Preez last started for Springboks against Australia in a 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Wellington.

Recalled to the squad last month he came off the bench against Argentina in Soweto and scored a try, but was unavailable for the return match and matches in Australia and New Zealand.

His return is one of two changes from the team that started in a 29-15 defeat by the New Zealand All Blacks in Auckland two weeks ago.

The other sees hooker Adriaan Strauss replace Bismarck du Plessis, who was controversially sent off during the Eden Park test.

The International Rugby Board has since admitted French referee Romain Poite blundered over the red card.

The Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says he always planned to rotate the players and to start Strauss and du Preez in this test.

South Africa: Zane Kirchner; Willie le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw; Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Juandre Kruger, Siya Kolisi, Ruan Pienaar, Patrick Lambie, Jan Serfontein