LEINSTER WILL BE without winger Zane Kirchner for the duration of the Rugby World Cup, after he was named in South Africa’s final 31-man squad for the tournament.
Kirchner didn’t feature in the Springboks’ winless Rugby Championship campaign, but did start at full-back for Heyneke Meyer’s side in their warm-up game against Argentina on August 15.
Heinrich Brussow is the most high-profile player to miss out on selection, despite the former Cheetahs flanker featuring in South Africa’s last three test matches.
Meyer has also taken the risk of including seven players who are still recovering from injury.
Captain Jean de Villiers has been included despite his fractured jaw, while Toulon-bound number eight Duane Vermuelen is also named after missing this summer’s games with a neck injury.
Another player returning from a neck injury is utility prop Coenie Oosthuizen, while Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez, Willie le Roux and Francois Louw are all carrying knocks into the tournament.
Springbok head coach Heyneke Meyer said they he’s fully confident all seven will be fit to play in the tournament.
“Although they have not been able to train fully with the rest of the squad at times, they have really worked hard on their fitness and all of them are incredibly fit, some of them in the best shape of their lives.”
As expected, Ulster will be losing the influential Ruan Pienaar, who is playing in his third tournament, as Meyer has plenty of experience to call upon.
Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger will take part in their fourth Rugby World Cup, while De Villiers, Habana, JP Pietersen, Pienaar, Fourie du Preez, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis will play in their third.
Backs: Willie le Roux; Zane Kirchner; Bryan Habana; JP Pietersen; Lwazi Mvovo; Jean de Villiers (capt); Damian de Allende; Jesse Kriel; Handré Pollard; Pat Lambie; Morné Steyn; Fourie du Preez; Ruan Pienaar; Rudy Paige.
Forwards: Duane Vermeulen; Francois Louw; Willem Alberts; Schalk Burger; Siya Kolisi; Victor Matfield; Eben Etzebeth; Pieter-Steph du Toit; Lood de Jager; Bismarck du Plessis; Adriaan Strauss; Schalk Brits; Tendai Mtawarira; Jannie du Plessis; Trevor Nyakane; Frans Malherbe; Coenie Oosthuizen
‘It’s something the players will be very alien to’ – Last chance for Welsh outsidersTwo key Wallabies have penned new contracts to stay in Australia