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Botha replaces injured Alberts

Willem Alberts withdrew due to a mild abdominal strain.

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers. Picture: Supplied

DURBAN - Uncapped South Africa loose forward Arno Botha will replace the injured Willem Alberts for Saturday's test against Italy in Durban.

Alberts withdrew due to a mild abdominal strain and is expected to be fit for selection for the match against Scotland in Nelspruit.

Botha's place on the bench goes to Marcell Coetzee, who played in all 12 Springbok Tests last year. Botha is the third uncapped player in the starting line-up, along with fullback Willie le Roux and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak.

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is fit to take his place in the side.

He only started training on Wednesday as a result of a hamstring strain.

"It's never ideal losing an experienced member of your squad the day before a Test and I feel for Willem, but I also have the utmost confidence in Arno and Marcell, who I rate as two of the most exciting young loose forwards in South Africa," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

Team doctor Craig Roberts said, "Alberts picked up an oblique abdominal strain earlier in the week and a decision was taken to withdraw him from Saturday's Test. He should be ready for next week's Test."

De Villiers said, "I got through training on Wednesday, so that's good. Hopefully I'll get through today's training and hopefully I'll be okay on Saturday."