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Proteas call up Steyn against Lions

FLYHALF Morne Steyn celebrated his dominant display in the Bulls' Super 14 triumph with a first call-up to the South Africa squad on Monday for three tests against the British and Irish Lions.

Steyn played a key role in the Bulls' record-breaking victory in the Super 14 final against the Waikato Chiefs last Saturday, contributing 19 points and finishing as the tournament's leading scorer.

"Morne Steyn earned his spot by performing week in, week out, he had an outstanding Super 14," coach Peter de Villiers told a news conference in Johannesburg.

"If we can maintain the form shown by the Blue Bulls, even 20 percent less, then we will be unbeatable."

Utility back Earl Rose, who toured Britain last year without making his test debut, was the only other uncapped player in the 28-man squad.

Following Percy Montgomery's retirement and the broken leg suffered by Conrad Jantjes, the squad does not include a specialist fullback.

De Villiers said he had various options for the No. 15 jersey, naming Rose, J P Pietersen, Francois Steyn, Jaque Fourie, Morne Steyn and Ruan Pienaar as contenders.

"Kicking is only one part of the game, there are a few others too. We have good ball-carriers, passers and runners. It's all there for us to play the kind of total rugby we are aiming for," said De Villiers, who recalled center Wynand Olivier and prop Deon Carstens.

First test

Sharks backs Pienaar and Francois Steyn are recovering from injuries but should be fit for the first test in Durban on June 20.

The squad includes 10 members of the all-conquering Bulls team and 12 survivors from the starting XV that won the World Cup in 2007.

Meanwhile, Australia has dropped veteran winger Lote Tuqiri for the Wallabies' season-opening match against the Barbarians in Sydney at the weekend.

Lachie Turner and Drew Mitchell will be on the wings for the non-test match on Saturday in place of the 29-year-old Tuqiri, who has earned 67 caps for his country but scored only two tries in a poor Super 14 season for the New South Wales Waratahs.

Uncapped Western Force blindside flanker Matt Hodgson will form part of the Australian loose trio with Richard Brown and George Smith in a side named yesterday which blends old hands with fresh legs.

Towering lock James Horwill returns to the Stirling Mortlock-captained Wallabies after missing the side's Europe tour last November with a foot injury.

The Wallabies are likely to face several of their own against the Baa-Baas, an invitational side made up of players from all over the world.

The Barbarians have named veteran Australia flanker Phil Waugh, former Australia half-back Chris Whitaker and his Leicester teammate and compatriot Rocky Elsom.


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