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RugbyU: Springboks call up Kirchner, Ralepelle for Australasia

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

South Africa have retained the squad that played poorly when edging Argentina last weekend for Rugby Championship Tests in Australia and New Zealand.

But coach Heyneke Meyer has been allowed to increase the group by two players to 28 and added full-back Zane Kirchner and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle.

Injured Ralepelle missed the trip to Argentina, where a couple of late Morne Steyn penalties scraped a 22-17 win, and must pass a fitness test Friday.

Meyer acknowledged the enormity of the task facing the Springboks as they have never won at Suncorp Stadium and the last win at Eden Park was 76 years ago.

"This will be two tough weeks on the road against two of the best sides in the world," admitted the coach who was given a four-year contract at the start of last season.

"We saw last weekend against Argentina that we still have a lot of hard work to do," he added, echoing the words of skipper and centre Jean de Villiers.

"Australia may have lost their first two matches of the Championship, but they showed a marked improvement in Wellington last weekend.

"They are always tough opponents at home -- the Springboks last victory over there was in 2009, and we have won only three of 18 matches in this competition in Australia.

"We let ourselves down in certain areas of the game in Mendoza and will have to fix those if we are to be competitive against Australia."

South Africa and New Zealand share first place on the southern hemisphere championship table after starting the season with two victories each.

The Springboks triumphed 73-13 against Los Pumas in Soweto only to struggle for most of the Mendoza Test after falling behind to a second-minute try.

The All Blacks ran in six tries en route to a 47-29 away victory over Australia,but met stiffer resistance at home and relied heavily on goal-kicking for a 27-16 win.

Known as the Tri Nations for many seasons, the competition was renamed the Rugby Championship in 2012 when Argentina made it a four team tournament.

Squad

Forwards: Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Juandre Kruger, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen

BacksBjorn Basson, Jean de Villiers (capt), JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Ruan Pienaar, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn, Piet van Zyl, Jano Vermaak.

Coach: Heyneke Meyer

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130828/rugbyu-springboks-call-kirchner-ralepelle-australasia