Dismay at in-form Daniel’s exclusion

2010-10-18 00:00

SHARKS head coach John Plumtree will not be the only one dismayed and confused by the Springbok selectors’ decision to omit loose forward Keegan Daniel from the Springbok preliminary training squad of 39 for the tour to the UK next month.

While there was reward for two of the Sharks’ emerging talents, flyhalf and fullback Pat Lambie, who turned 20 yesterday, and wing Lwazi Mvovo, along with a host who are already Springboks, the omission of Daniel was a massive surprise.

Plumtree, speaking before the squad was announced, and shortly after the Sharks had downed the Blue Bulls 16-12 at the soaked King’s Park on Saturday afternoon, said Daniel should be a certain tourist.

“He has been the outstanding loose forward of the Currie Cup, his ability on both defence and attack has been remarkable and he is the one loose forward in South Africa who can play excellent rugby anywhere in the backrow [six, seven or eight].

“He definitely deserves to go, but knowing the conservative nature of selection in this country he probably won’t.”

The selectors obviously see Daniel’s size (at 94 kg) as a problem on the heavy northern fields, while there was such competition for the loose forward positions that Province’s Springbok flank Francois Louw was also omitted.

While Daniel, who scored the only try in the Durban semi-final, was certainly the unlucky one, a number of Sharks were fortunate to be included. Two could not make the Sharks match 22 for Saturday’s semi-final.

Centre Adi Jacobs, who has played no rugby for six months and made a fleeting appearance against Western Province the previous weekend, is included and so is big lock Gerhard Mostert, another plagued by injury, who was replaced on the Sharks bench by Anton Bresler on Saturday.

There was deserved reward for battering flank Willem Alberts, the man of the match on Saturday, while the Sharks’ front row of the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, Beast Mtawarira, lock Alistair Hargreaves, number eight Ryan Kankowski and wing JP Pietersen made up the 11 Shark inclusions.

The 19-year-old Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies has also been included, while the inclusion of Jacobs has resulted in the exclusion of the consistent Free State centre Meyer Bosman. Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie is back in favour, but the loss of centre Jaque Fourie to injury has reduced the Boks’ options in midfield.

Bok coach Peter de Villiers, who had said he would be resting 13 senior Springboks for the tour, appears to have changed his mind and all the usual suspects, among them Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Danie Rossouw and Jean de Villiers, are included.

The squad will gather in Johannesburg on Friday for a two-day camp. Overseas-based players were not considered for the camp.

Preliminary Springbok training group:

Backs: Gio Aplon, Bjorn Basson, Juan de Jongh , Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Adrian Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Ricky Januarie, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Wynand Olivier, JP Pietersen, Morné Steyn.

Forwards: Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Dean Greyling, Alistair Hargreaves, Ashley Johnson, Ryan Kankowski, Werner Kruger, Victor Matfield, Gerhard Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Dewald Potgieter, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw, Juan Smith, Adriaan Strauss, Pierre Spies, Deon Stegman, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.

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