sport

South Africa call up Whiteley

South Africa have called Warren Whiteley into their squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship Tests in Australia and New Zealand after fellow loose forward Willem Alberts was ruled out through injury.

Alberts, who missed the Boks recent narrow home and away wins over Argentina with a hamstring injury, was named in the 30-man squad three days but subsequently failed a fitness test.

Whiteley skippered the Johannesburg-based Golden Lions this season to their best Super Rugby showing and travelled to Argentina last week, but did not play in the 33-31 Test win.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer believes Whiteley possesses similar qualities to Alberts and says his versatility will be a big asset.

"Warren really impressed me last week – he has been playing very well and it made sense to get him back in," said Meyer.

"Like Willem, he is very effective with ball in hand and also a great option at the back of the lineout.

"More importantly, Warren is a natural No. 8, a position where we need cover, but he can play flank as well."

Toulon loose forward Juan Smith was originally on stand-by should Alberts not be able to travel, but pulled out, believing he needs to work on his match fitness.

"Juan has very high standards and was not happy with his performance in Salta," explained Meyer.

The Springboks play the Wallabies on September 6 in Perth and the All Blacks on September 13 in Wellington.

South Africa top the table after two rounds with eight points, title-holders New Zealand have seven, and Argentina and Australia two each.

South Africa squad:

Forwards: Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lodewyk de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley

Backs: Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn