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De Jongh called up by Springboks to replace Pietersen

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sarugby.net     08 Aug 2012     Photosport

The Sharks winger Pietersen fractured his thumb in the Investec Super Rugby final in Hamilton on Saturday. He underwent scans on Monday and will undergo an operation on Wednesday. The normal recovery time for such an injury is six to eight weeks.

The 24-year-old De Jongh made his Springbok debut against Wales in 2010 and has 10 Test caps to his name, the last coming at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year.

“We decided to pick Juan as he provides midfield cover, an area where we are perhaps a bit thin now that JP is out,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“JP was going to provide cover for us at outside centre, while JJ Engelbrecht and Francois Hougaard can also be used on the wing, especially as Bjorn Basson is out for another six weeks.

“Losing JP is obviously a massive blow as he’s been playing some superb rugby lately, but Juan has also been in good form for the DHL Stormers and was one of the unlucky players to miss out on initial selection.

“It’s great to have Juan involved as he brings new energy with him. This call-up just shows again that no player is ever completely out of the equation.”

De Jongh, who is based in Cape Town, had his first session with the Springboks on Monday afternoon.