Habana missing for Springboks against England
LONDON (AP) Bryan Habana will miss South Africa's rugby test against England on Saturday after failing to fully recover from a knee injury.
The Springboks said the 33-year-old winger, who has played in 123 tests, showed ''significant improvement'' this week after arriving in Britain with a knee problem but will not be risked at Twickenham as ''he is not yet 100 percent.'' They hope he can take part in the team's remaining games in its end-of-season tour, against Italy and Wales.
Outside center Francois Venter will make his test debut as one of five players retained from the team that started the 31-31 draw with the Barbarians at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. The others are prop Tendai Mtawarira, openside flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, scrumhalf Rudy Paige and flyhalf Pat Lambie.
Du Toit will switch from his usual place in the second row to play in a revamped back row, where coach Allister Coetzee has injury problems. That means a return for Lood de Jager, who sat out the Barbarians game because of a one-match suspension.
South Africa hasn't lost to England since 2006 but is facing a team that is unbeaten in 2016 under coach Eddie Jones.
''They are an extremely well-coached side with no apparent weaknesses and their away series win in Australia (England won 3-0) proved why they are currently second in the world rankings,'' Coetzee said. ''They are definite favorites.''
Team: Willie Le Roux, Ruan Combrinck, Francois Venter, Damian de Allende, JP Pietersen, Pat Lambie, Rudy Paige; Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Step du Toit, Willem Alberts, Lood de Jager, Even Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Mostert, Nizaam Carr, Faf de Klerk, Johan Goosen, Lionel Mapoe.