Australia added prop Salesi Ma’afu and No. 8 Radike Samo to its rugby squad to face South Africa in the Tri-Nations following a 16-point loss against New Zealand two days ago.
The 26-man roster, which also included second-rower Nathan Sharpe, arrived in Durban last night ahead of the Aug. 13 match at King’s Park. Australia coach Robbie Deans released lock Dan Vickerman from the squad that fell to a 30-14 loss at Eden Park in Auckland.
The Wallabies, who last won the southern hemisphere’s annual championship in 2001, trail the All Blacks by four points in the standings following their 12th straight loss at Eden Park, which will stage this year’s Rugby World Cup final. Australia was upset by Samoa in its season-opening Test on July 17 before beating South Africa six days later.
“We haven’t been able to get the momentum we’d like leading into a World Cup, but we’ve still got two good opportunities,” Wallabies prop Ben Alexander told reporters. “All our games at the World Cup will be away from home. So if we can get a good win this weekend in a hostile environment, I think that will go a long way towards rebuilding our confidence and get us going again.”
South Africa suffered back-to-back losses last month in Australia and New Zealand. The Springboks left 21 frontline players at home for the Tri-Nations away games, citing injuries and the need to rehabilitate them before the team begins the defense of its world title.
South Africa selectors yesterday added flanker Heinrich Brussow to its squad for the two home matches. The Tri-Nations has been truncated this year because of the Sept. 9-Oct. 23 World Cup, which will be hosted by New Zealand.
Brussow, who was out of action for almost two months because a hamstring strain, was called up after coming through a domestic Currie Cup match two days ago.
SPRINGBOKS SQUAD: Forwards: Heinrich Brussow, Pierre Spies, Jean Deysel, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Gerhard Mostert, John Smit (captain), Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde. Backs: Gio Aplon, Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Morne Steyn, Butch James, Ruan Pienaar, Fourie du Preez, Francois Hougaard.