Skipper Jean de Villiers has been left out of South Africa’s 31-man squad for their 2015 Rugby Championship match in Australia.
The 34-year-old centre will continue his remarkable recovery from a career-threatening knee injury by instead turning out for Western Province in Currie Cup warm-up games.
De Villiers played at the weekend for the first time since being injured against Wales last November, coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes of a 46-10 Springboks’ triumph over a World XV.
The decision to keep De Villiers at home was planned and he will likely return to the Test arena when South Africa host Argentina on August 8 in Durban.
Looking sharp despite the long lay-off, De Villiers set up the fifth of seven tries scored by the Springboks in the non-cap Cape Town exhibition match.
“I was probably more nervous than Jean when he took to the field,” admitted Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer.
“But he soon demonstrated that he is ready for international rugby.
“The spirit he showed to get back to this level is amazing and it lifted all the guys.”
De Villiers was excited to wear the green and gold again as South Africa began a five-match countdown to the Rugby World Cup in England during September and October.
“I still have a long way to go but it was fantastic to be part of this match,” he said.
Apart from De Villiers, the matchday squad for the World XV game has been retained and nine players added for the Brisbane clash with the Wallabies.
Veteran lock Victor Matfield continues as captain in the absence of De Villiers.
Forwards: Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Marcell Coetzee, Lood de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Victor Matfield (capt), Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss, Heinke van der Merwe, Warren Whiteley
Backs: Damian De Allende, Bryan Habana, Jesse Kriel, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Handr Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn
Coach: Heyneke Meyer