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South Africa retain 16-man squad for NZ tests

Written by: Staff

BENONI, South Africa, Apr 8 (Reuters) South Africa have retained their 16-man squad for the three tests against New Zealand.

The expanded squad was named for the final test against Australia, with the series already lost.

Selection convenor Haroon Lorgat said today the same players deserved an opportunity against New Zealand, despite losing 3-0 to the Australians.

''We have retained the same squad of players following the tough test series against the world's number one team. We believe that the experience will stand them in good stead and they deserve another opportunity against New Zealand.

''We will, however, monitor performances carefully and look to build a successful test team,'' Lorgat said in a statement.

The first New Zealand test starts on April 15 in Centurion.

Captain Graeme Smith, who did not play in the third test against Australia due to a finger injury, is fit again.

Boeta Dippenaar, who withdrew from the Rest of South Africa team playing a warm-up match against New Zealand because of influenza, has been named in the South African squad.

So have Garnett Kruger, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, none of whom played a role in the six tests home and away against Australia. The earlier series was lost 2-0.

Squad - Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince, Jacques Rudolph, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Nicky Boje, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Boeta Dippenaar, Andrew Hall, Garnett Kruger, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn.

Reuters PDS BD1809

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