Botha to debut for Boks
Uncapped loose forward Arno Botha has been called into the Springbok starting team in the place of the injured Willem Alberts for Saturday’s Castle Lager Incoming Series opener against Italy at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban.
Botha’s place on the replacements bench goes to Marcell Coetzee, who played in all 12 Springbok tests last year. Botha is the third uncapped player in the starting line-up, along with fullback Willie le Roux and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak.
“It’s never ideal losing an experienced member of your squad the day before a test and I feel for Willem, but I also have the utmost confidence in Arno and Marcell, who I rate as two of the most exciting young loose forwards in South Africa,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
Commenting on the injury, Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts said: “Alberts picked up an oblique abdominal strain earlier in the week and the decision was taken to withdraw him Saturday’s test, but he should be ready for next week’s test against Scotland in Nelspruit.”