Cape Town - After the disappointment of missing out on Rugby World Cup selection in 2015, Springbok scrumhalf Cobus Reinach is elated after making the cut in 2019.
Reinach played 10 Tests between 2014 and 2015 and featured in South Africa's build-up to that year's World Cup in England, only to be left out of the squad in surprising fashion.
The then uncapped Rudy Paige was picked at Reinach's expense alongside Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar as the three scrumhalves in the Bok squad.
"After that World Cup I did introspection and regrouped which took some time. From there I had the goal to make this World Cup squad and if that didn’t happen, then the following one in 2023..." Reinach told Netwerk24 after being included in Rassie Erasmus' 31-man squad on Monday.
That 2015 World Cup exclusion was also the start of a period in the international wilderness, with Reinach's next Test appearance only coming four years later when he featured in June's 35-17 win over the Wallabies at Ellis Park.
He also left the Sharks in 2017 to join English club Northampton Saints where impressed to such an extent that he was nominated - alongside fellow Bok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk - for this year's English Premiership Player of the Season.
Reinach admitted that the road back to the Bok squad was tough but he's happy he went through the experience.
"Every player goes through highs and lows in their career... you get chosen for some teams and left out of others. But for me it was important to keep working hard for a possible spot."
Reinach now boasts 12 Test caps after also starting in the 24-18 win over Argentina in Pretoria earlier this month.
He will likely enter the World Cup as third-choice No 9 behind De Klerk and Herschel Jantjies but is expected to get game time in a long tournament that will see South Africa play group matches against New Zealand (Yokohama, September 21), Namibia (Toyota, September 28), Italy (Fukuroi, October 4) and Canada (Kamaishi, October 8).
Springboks' 31-man Rugby World Cup squad:
Schalk Brits (Bulls), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (captain, Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)
Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), S'bu Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Wasps, England), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)
Compiled by: Herman Mostert