Nine Lions included in Coetzee's Rugby Championship Squad
Last Updated: 08/08/16 11:23am
South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee has named his 31-man squad for the first two matches of this year’s Rugby Championship, with uncapped hooker Malcolm Marx one of nine Lions included.
Marx has enjoyed an outstanding Super Rugby season for the Johannesburg-based Lions, who lost the Super Rugby final 20-3 to the Hurricanes in a wet and cold New Zealand capital.
The hooker will take his place alongside a number of his team-mates, including captain and No 8 Warren Whiteley, fly-half Elton Jantjies and scrum-half Faf de Klerk.
Coetzee has made seven changes to the squad that faced Ireland in June with injuries a contributing factor as fly-half Patrick Lambie, prop Frans Malherbe and loose forward Siya Kolisi were ruled out of selection.
Others that have been recalled into the squad include utility backs Johan Goosen and Francois Hougaard, veteran winger Bryan habana, centre Juan de Jongh, fly-half Morne Steyn, prop Vincent Koch and loose forward Teboho 'Oupa' Mohoje.
Experienced wingers JP Pietersen and full-back Willie le Roux have been excluded to give them a rest after three years of near-continuous rugby.
"JP and I recently held discussions and I have decided to give him a much-needed break because he has played a lot of rugby the past three years," said Coetzee in a SARU statement.
"Although he has joined English club Leicester, he will still be available for the Springboks. The same applies to Willie, who has just signed with Wasps.
"The other players who were part of the squad in June but have missed out on selection will continue to be part of the process going forward. We have to build depth because this is a long haul and a tough competition, and they are not out of our plans."
South Africa open their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina on August 20 in Nelspruit before the two sides meet again on August 27 in Salta. Both matches will be live on Sky Sports.
South Africa Squad
Backs: Damian de Allende, Ruan Combrinck, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Juan de Jongh, Faf de Klerk, Jesse Kriel, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Morne Steyn
Forwards: Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Jaco Kriel, Francois Louw, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Teboho 'Oupa' Mohoje, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Trevor Nyakane, Julian Redlinghuys, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley.