Surprises in Bok squad

2008-10-26 00:00

Never mind the rabbits, Springbok rugby coach Peter de Villiers has pulled a brand new tighthead prop and a reluctant flyhalf from his hat for next month’s three-Test tour of the United Kingdom.

De Villiers named his 28-man squad at the weekend and World Cup-winning captain and hooker John Smit is now his number one tighthead and Ruan Pienaar, who wants to be a scrumhalf, is his first-choice flyhalf.

In the major surprise, De Villiers has picked Earl Rose as back-up to Pienaar at flyhalf, although the unpredictable and struggling Lions player was shifted to fullback for the recent Currie Cup semi-final.

De Villiers, like the Sharks, see Bismarck du Plessis as their number one hooker, but the Bok coach wants the respected Smit as his captain and said he hoped to extend his career by playing him at prop.

“We have two brilliant hookers and this way I can accommodate both. If it doesn’t work, I’m in big trouble.”

Smit will take over from CJ van der Linde, who is now playing club rugby in England, but his selection as a specialist prop has also cost Sharks tighthead Jannie du Plessis a place in the tour party.

Pienaar has publicly said he wants to play scrumhalf, but De Villiers said he is a talented player with all the qualities of a flyhalf “and he is a professional”.

Apart from Rose, who has always been highly rated by De Villiers, the only other new cap is the Free State flank and fetcher Heinrich Brussow.

De Villiers said he was always going to reward Currie Cup form — and said he had in selecting Rose and Brussow — but he has overlooked the best fullback in the competition in the Sharks’ Stefan Terblanche.

Returning after a long lay-off is lock Bakkies Botha, while Chiliboy Ralepelle, who has been out for most of the season with injury, is preferred to Adriaan Strauss and the Lions’ Willie Wepener at hooker.

There are nine Sharks players in the tour party and many of the Bulls players who are nursing bruised bodies this morning would probably agree that Jean Deysel, the Sharks human cannon-ball, would have been a valuable loose forward inclusion for the heavy going in Britain.

De Villiers said the overseas players, such as Butch James and Van der Linde, had not been considered as the Boks look to the future, “but we know they can slot in at any time”.

While De Villiers may have problems at flyhalf and tighthead, particularly against the strong scrummaging England team, he is spoilt for choice at centre (Jean de Villiers, Adrian Jacobs, Frans Steyn and Jaque Fourie) and number eight (Pierre Spies and Ryan Kankowski).

The squad will assemble in Cape Town tomorrow and depart for the UK on Friday.

The Bok squad is: Backs: Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Adrian Jacobs, Conrad Jantjes, Ricky Januarie, Odwa Ndungane, Jongi Nokwe, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Earl Rose, Frans Steyn.

Forwards: Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Heinrich Brussow, Bismarck du Plessis, Ryan Kankowski, Victor Matfield, Brian Mujati, Beast Mtawarira, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw, John Smit (capt), Juan Smith, Pierre Spies, Gurthro Steenkamp.

ON STANDBY: Peter Grant, Jannie du Plessis. Johann Muller, Wynand Olivier, Adriaan Strauss, Heinke van der Merwe, Jano Vermaak.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.