Sun Dec 04 05:55:56 SAST 2016

Habana out, Mvovo in

SIMNIKIWE XABANISA in Edinburgh | 2010-11-17 01:00:04.00 Comments
DEBUTANT: Lwazi Mvovo @Picture: STEVE HAAG

The Springboks' grand slam tour took another off-the-field turn for the worse yesterday when it was announced that Bryan Habana will miss the rest of the trip with a broken hand.

Habana was ruled out two hours after being named in the starting team to play against Scotland on Saturday, having broken a bone in his left hand after tangling with Morne Steyn in training before the team announcement.

This comes a day after the Boks sent Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson home after they tested positive for a banned stimulant, reducing the Bok touring party to 27.

Sharks winger Lwazi Mvovo, who was named on the bench, will now make his debut on the left wing.

The move will increase the changes to the team that started against Wales to four, with Gio Aplon moving from fullback to wing to cover for the suspended Basson.

No8 Ryan Kankowski replaces Pierre Spies, the man of the match in Cardiff, Francois Hougaard takes over from Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf and Zane Kirchner starts in his favoured fullback position.

Adriaan Strauss and Adrian Jacobs are the two new additions to the bench, in place of Ralepelle and Mvovo respectively.

"I'm happy to be representing my country, be it in the starting line-up or coming from the bench," said Mvovo. "I was hoping that Bryan would recover but I'm looking forward to the challenge on Saturday. I'll play my heart out either way."

The 24-year-old's elevation to Test rugby completes a meteoric rise for one of the late starters in the game.

Mvovo, a former striker for the Maria Louw school in Queenstown, only started playing the game at 17 after the rugby coach convinced him that he would make a great winger.

At the time Mvovo was the school's champion sprinter, with a time of 10.6sec for the 100m. The move was so successful he soon played for the Border under-19 side before moving to the Sharks Academy.

After scoring 12 tries in his break-out season in the Currie Cup, he will make his debut at Murrayfield.

In explaining why Spies was omitted from the squad altogether after his best performance in the northern hemisphere, Bok coach Peter de Villiers said: "It doesn't suddenly become an individual sport. Ryan has played for us before so now is a good time to show him that we trust him and that we think he's a good enough player."

De Villiers had pretty much the same response for why he had replaced Pienaar with Hougaard.

  • Simnikiwe Xabanisa is on tour with the Springboks courtesy of British Airways.
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