Du Randt dropped by Boks

South Africa coach Jake White has omitted veteran Os du Randt from the side to face Australia in the opening game of the Tri-Nations at Newlands on Saturday. [more]

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South Africa coach Jake White has omitted veteran Os du Randt from the side to face Australia in the opening game of the Tri-Nations at Newlands on Saturday.

White has made 10 changes to the team that beat Samoa 35-8 in Johannesburg and essentially selected close to his strongest side for the game.

The coach denied it was a snubbing of the veteran prop, claiming it was more of a rotation.

"It is not that we are dropping Os, it is a simple rotation. We want Os to be ready to take on Carl Hayman in next week’s match against the All Blacks," explained White.

The man in his place is Gurthro Steenkamp, seen by many as the heir apparent for the position after the World Cup.

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Steenkamp was the form loosehead in the Super 14 and part of a Bulls team that won the Super 14 championship.

In other changes, star winger Bryan Habana is missing with a knee injury that is likely to keep him out of action for between two and five weeks. JP Pietersen is expected to step into the breach.

Ruan Pienaar gets his first start at scrum-half after injuries to Ricky Januarie and Fourie du Preez. Before this his appearances at Test level were at full-back, wing and centre.

Butch James is back at fly-half, and Pienaar is set to renew the partnership that took the Sharks to the final of the Super 14.

"We have played a lot together for the Sharks and we have played a lot of very big games together, so it plays into my hands that Butch will be wearing number 10 in this game," he said.

Jaques Fourie returns to the Bok midfield for the first time this year, while others back are Percy Montgomery, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.

South Africa team to face Australia: P Montgomery, A Willemse, J Fourie, J De Villiers, J Pietersen, B James, R Pienaar; G Steenkamp, J Smit (capt), B Botha, B Botha, V Matfield, S Burger, J Smith, P Spies.

Replacements: G Botha, C van der Linde, J Muller, D Rossouw, M Claassens, W Olivier, F Steyn.

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