Keegan still off the radar

2012-09-24 00:00

KEEGAN Daniel’s sublime form in recent weeks, underlined by his valiant efforts in a losing cause against the Lions on Saturday, has not been enough to convince coach Heyneke Meyer that he should be in the 30-man Springbok squad.

Meyer has added four players — three of them Golden Lions — to the squad that toured Australia and New Zealand, including utility back Jaco Taute and flyhalf Elton Jantjies, their experienced provincial team-mate, prop CJ van der Linde, and Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen.

Dropping out of the 28-man squad which travelled Down Under are scrumhalf Jano Vermaak and disgraced prop Dean Greyling.

While Daniel has excelled in the ball-in-the-hand approach of the Sharks, he was less effective in Meyer’s structured game plan and was dropped for the Rugby Championship tour.

Eight of his Sharks’ team-mates have been included, but a couple of them, third-choice hooker Craig Burden and wing Lwazi Mvovo, could return during the week and in time for the Currie Cup game against the Blue Bulls in Durban on Friday night.

Manager Rudolf Straeuli told The Witness that the Sharks expected to hear tomorrow if any players, not included in the Test squad of 22, would be released for the weekend. The other six Sharks in the 30-man squad are Pat Lambie, Frans Steyn, Jannie du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee.

The inclusion of Jantjies, as flyhalf back-up to Morné Steyn and Johan Goosen, and Taute, who has played most of his rugby at fullback, suggests that the under-utilised (and underrated) Lambie is dropping down the pecking order and may not even make the 22-man squad for Saturday’s Test against the Australians at Loftus.

The Lions pair of Taute and Jantjies are uncapped.

“I’d always wanted to include Jaco in the squad but an untimely injury meant we could not select him earlier,” said Meyer. “Jaco is big, strong, fast and versatile and it will be good to get him involved.

“Elton was part of the squad before this season, against England in June and in the first part of the Rugby Championship. He only missed out when we had to cut the numbers of the squad and it’s good to have him back.”

Meyer said that veteran CJ van der Linde would bring experience to the pack.

“Apart from being the second most experienced prop in Springbok history, after Os du Randt, he is versatile and can play loosehead and tighthead. And it’s great to have Coenie (Oosthuizen) back with us after he picked up an injury on debut in the first Test against England in June. He is a world class prop and losing him was a big setback.”

Meyer said only two scrumhalves had been selected for the Tests and Jano Vermaak has returned to the Bulls. Meyer said that Vermaak was familiar with the game plan and could easily be recalled if he was needed.

Springbok squad: Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Craig Burden, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Juan de Jongh

Jean de Villiers (c), Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Juandré Kruger, Pat Lambie, Tiaan Liebenberg, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo, Coenie Oosthuizen, Ruan Pienaar, Jacques Potgieter, Frans Steyn, Morné Steyn, Adriaan Strauss, Jaco Taute, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.

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