Rugby-Lambie returns to flyhalf for BaaBaas clash

Richie McCaw of New Zealand leads his team during the haka as the South Africa team watch during their Rugby World Cup semi-final match at Twickenham in London, Britain October 24, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Childs - RTX1T0WG
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LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Pat Lambie has returned to his favoured flyhalf position as South Africa coach Allister Coetzee named his side for Saturday’s exhibition fixture against the Barbarians at Wembley.

The match serves as a warm-up for tougher assignments ahead and Lambie, who will captain the side, has been asked to stake a claim for the number 10 jersey on a permanent basis having started the last two tests of the Boks’ disappointing Rugby Championship campaign at fullback.

He will be part of a new halfback pairing that includes scrumhalf Rugby Paige, with Jesse Kriel taking over the number 15 jersey.

Exciting Free State Cheetahs wing Sergeal Petersen also gets a run along with Lions centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who was excellent helping his side to the Super Rugby final and was a surprise omission from their Rugby Championship squad.

Coetzee has been forced to select a home-based team, for which no caps will be awarded, as the match against the Barbarians falls outside of the international fixture calendar.

He has a chance to try new combinations with sterner tests to come as the struggling Boks prepare to take on in-form England, Italy and Wales on consecutive Saturdays from Nov. 12.

“The Barbarians play an attacking, adventurous style of rugby and it will be a real test for our young side,” Coetzee said in a statement from South Africa Rugby on Thursday.

“In ideal circumstances I would’ve preferred to give every player in the squad a run, but this tour was also about introducing players who are on our radar for the future.”

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South African rugby has sunk into the doldrums after a dismal 2016 in which the side has won only four of their nine tests and finished the Rugby Championship with a record 57-15 home loss to New Zealand.

The Barbarians lead the Boks 4-3 on the head-to-head and won the last fixture between the sides 26-20 six years ago.

Team: 15-Jesse Kriel, 14-Sergeal Petersen, 13-Francois Venter, 12-Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11-Jamba Ulengo, 10-Pat Lambie (captain), 9-Rudy Paige, 8-Nizaam Carr, 7-Teboho Mohoje, 6-Roelof Smit, 5-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4-RG Snyman, 3-Lourens Adriaanse, 2-Malcolm Marx, 1-Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16-Bongi Mbonambi, 17-Lizo Gqoboka, 18-Trevor Nyakane, 19-Eben Etzebeth, 20-Jean-Luc du Preez, 21-Piet van Zyl, 22-Tian Schoeman, 23-Ruan Combrinck.

(Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Mark Heinrich)


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