De Villiers selects depleted Tri Nations squad

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has named a severely weakened 27-man squad for the away leg of their Tri Nations campaign due to injuries suffered by a host of key players.

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has named a severely weakened 27-man squad for the away leg of their Tri Nations campaign due to injuries suffered by a host of key players.

The Springboks had earlier this week released a list of 21 players unavailable for selection for the games against Australia and New Zealand on July 23 and July 30, and Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O’Neill has already called for there to be an investigation into the announcement, fearing that South Africa are saving their best players for their World Cup defence later this year.

Among those absent are locks Victor Matfield (calf and neck) and Bakkies Botha (knee), back-rowers Schalk Burger (thumb) and Juan Smith (Achilles), wing Bryan Habana (shoulder), scrum-half Fourie du Preez (knee) and centre Jaque Fourie (groin).

Captain John Smit is selected, as are fly-half Morne Steyn and flanker Heinrich Brussow, although the trio are the only genuine first-choice players in the party.

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