Baby Boks face Super 12

2003-01-15 15:33

Cape Town - South Africa's 2003 Vodacom Super 12 challenge will feature the majority of the World Cup-winning 2002 South Africa under-21 squad.

More than 70% of the winning 'Baby Boks' starting XV are in a 120 competition total that shows 53 changes to the 129 players who participated in the 2002 South African challenge.

Jorrie Muller, Ashwen Willemse, Dewey Swartbooi, Enrico Januarie, Pedrie Wanneburg, Roland Bernard, Jacques Cronje, Jaun Smith, Gurthro Steenkamp and Pat Barnard - all in the under 21 starting XV that beat Australia - will play in the Super 12 in 2003.

Clyde Rathbone, the captain of the SA under 21 side, will play for the Australian Brumbies and Springbok centre Jean de Villiers is unavailable because of injury. Flyhalf Francois Swart, still eligible for the under 21s this year, has been picked in a composite team to play warm-up matches against South Africa's Super 12 teams.

SA Rugby Pty Ltd Managing Director Rian Oberholzer, in confirming the four respective South African squads, said the introduction of the successful national under 21 players, the increase in black playing numbers and the willingness of the respective coaches to try new combinations pointed to a different kind of South African challenge in 2003.

"The recognition of the under 21 players is tremendous for the growth of our game. It shows the identification process at under 21 level is sound and that age won't be a negative consideration in future selections. Equally pleasing is that Luke Watson and Derick Hougaard, both part of the SA under 19 team in 2002, will play Super 12 rugby," said Oberholzer.

"There has been criticism of the squad selections in the past. There have been accusations of provincial bias and if you analyse our player performances over the past few years the same tried and tested players have not produced the winning results.

"All four regional coaches accepted that to be successful in 2003 the player net had to be cast further, a detailed study of all talent available had to be made and the drafting system had to be more effective and nationally beneficial.

"We could not continue with a pool of players that were not getting the results. All four coaches, to their credit, have worked together in finalizing their squads. All four have tried to help the other where possible and the net result is that 16 players have been drafted into the respective squads and it is a number that could increase because of injury concerns. "That says a lot for the kind of effort that has gone into finalizing the squads in the past three months."

National coach Rudolf Straeuli has worked closely with all four regional coaches since the first meetings in October, 2002 and he emphasised the amount of preparation involved to finalise all four squads.

"There was constant communication between myself and the coaches as to who I needed to see playing. Transformation is an issue that has to be promoted at all times and we have identified a pool of black players we believe to be good enough to play Super 12 and have the potential to play Test rugby," said Straeuli.

"We also have to monitor those Springboks who are currently injured or in recovery. A select group who I believe can add value to South African rugby in 2003 has been identified and included in a Rehabilitation program. This squad will change as players get fit and others get injured.

"Once the player is fit, his regional coach has first use of the player. Should the region feel the player's services are not required then the other regions can draft the player."

SA under 21 coach Jake White will head up a fifth team, similar to the Renegades of 2002. White has centred his selections around players still eligible to play in this year's under-21 World Cup and those senior players on the fringes of Super 12 selection.

Oberholzer highlighted the success of the 2002 Renegades.

"Not only did the squad provide good pre-season opposition, but eight players from last year's fifth team have made it into this season's squads and one has made the national Sevens squad.

"This year we have taken the concept of the fifth team to another level and the warm-up games will now benefit the four regional squads as well as Jake's search for South Africa's 2003 under-21 World Cup squad," said Oberholzer.

The four regional competition captains will be confirmed at the official launch in February.

South African Vodacom Super 12 squads:

Bulls: Richard Bands, Christo Bezuidenhout, Bakkies Botha, Danie Coetzee, Jacques Cronje, Geo Cronje, Piet Krause, Victor Matfield, Matthew Proudfoot, Danie Rossouw, Wessel Roux, *Dale Santon, *Nicky van der Walt, *Wickus van Heerden, Ruan Vermeulen, Pedrie Wannenburg, Ettienne Botha, *John Daniels, Fourie du Preez, *Edrich Fredericks, Coenrad Groenewald, Derick Hougaard, *Fabian Juries, *Louis Koen, JP Nel, *Anton Pitout, Dries Scholtz, Dewey Swartbooi, Riaan van der Bergh and Jaco van der Westhuyzen. *Denotes draft player

Cats: Charl Blom, Gcobani Bobo, Rudi Coetzee, *James Dalton, Jacque Fourie, Dean Hall, Friedrich Lombard, *Enrico Januarie, *Adrian Jacobs, *Norman Jordaan, Jannes Labuschagne, Jorrie Muller, Andre Pretorius, Hendro Scholtz, Lawrence Sephaka, Hanyani Shimange, Gurthro Steenkamp, *Bob Skinstad, Jaun Smith, Willem Stoltz, Kleinjan Tromp, Kennedy Tsimba, Carel van der Merwe, Joe van Niekerk, Pietman van Niekerk, Jaco van Schalkwyk, Marco Wentzel, Ashwen Willemse, Russell Winter and AN OTHER. *Denotes draft player

Sharks: *Roland Bernard, Deon Carstens, Eduard Coetzee, Craig Davidson, Etienne Fynn, Trevor Halstead, *Wylie Human, Butch James, Joos Joubert, Deon Kayser, Rudi Keil, Herkie Kruger, Ricardo Loubscher, Ollie le Roux, Brad MacLeod-Henderson, *Neil Powell, Brent Russell, John Smit, Philip Smit, Andre Snyman, Shaun Sowerby, Justin Swart, Stefan Terblanche, Lukas van Biljon, Albert van den Berg, Wayne van Heerden, Charl Van Rensburg, AJ Venter, Luke Watson and AN OTHER. *Denotes draft player. John Smit's inclusion is subject to fitness.

Stormers: Eddie Andrews, Adri Badenhorst, De Wet Barry, Selborne Boome, Bolla Conradie, Quinton Davids, Neil de Kock, Pieter Dixon, Gaffie du Toit, Robbie Fleck, Hendrik Gerber, Werner Greeff, Daan Human, Corne Krige, Hottie Louw, Noel Oelschig, Breyton Paulse, Faan Rautenbach, Chris Rossouw, Pieter Rossouw, Egon Seconds, Gus Theron, Pierre Uys, Tjoepie van den Heever, Morne van der Merwe, Lean van Dyk, Martin van Schalkwyk, Cobus Visagie and two additional players. *Tighthead prop Pat Barnard will be selected for either the Stormers or Cats. A decision will be made later in the week.

National squad rehab programme: (players to be made available for Super 12 once fit). Conrad Jantjes, Wayne Julies, Joost van der Westhuizen, Rassie Erasmus, Os du Randt, Marius Joubert, CJ Van der Linde, Jean de Villiers and Johan Ackermann.

'Renegades' 2003: Gavin Passens, Baldwin McBean, Francois Swart, Giscard Pieters (all Blue Bulls), Alsaun Bock (Boland), Tiger Manweni (Border), Barry Goodes, Michael Claassens, Gerrie Britz, Hanro Haupt, Wiaan du Preez, Nico Breedt, Chris Kruger (all Free State), Deon le Grange, Andre van Niekerk, Grant Esterhuizen (Lions), Chris Els, Tewis du Bruin, Stefan van Rooyen, Dawid Britz (all Leopards), Eugene Makwalena, Dean Hopp (SWD), Ashlyn Hearn, Schalk Burger, Bennie Adams, Gordon Gilfillan, Andries Bekker, JD Moller, Bossie Clarke (all WP). Coach: Jake White.

Players who participated in the 2002 Super 12, who are unavailable, overseas or not eligible for selection: Andre Vos (overseas), Mark Andrews (overseas), Percy Montgomery (overseas), Danie van Schalkwyk, Willie Meyer (retired), Jannie van der Walt, Thinus Delport (overseas), Marius Goosen, Piet Boer, Anton Leonard, Franco Smith (overseas), Boeta Wessels, Chad Alcock, Leon Boshoff, Deon de Kock, Hakkies Husselman, Warren Britz (overseas), Eugene Meyer, Johan van Wyk, Frikkie Welsh, Hannes Venter, Delarey du Preez, Piet Joubert, Thys Stoltz (overseas), Baksteen Nell, Dave von Hoesslin (overseas), Lodewyk Hattingh, Matt Frank, McNeil Hendricks, Rodger Smith, Andre van Niekerk, Johan Wasserman, Pietie Ferreira, Dirkie Groenewald, Jimmy Powell, Heinrich Kok, Gerrie Britz, Gavin Passens, Giscard Pieters, Grant Bartle, Grant Esterhuizen, Leon van den Heever, Boela du Plooy (overseas), Clyde Rathbone (overseas), Jeffrey Stevens, Werner Gey von Pittius, Khaya Malotana, Johan Roets, Nel Fourie, Conrad Jantjes (Rehab program), Wayne Julies (Rehab program), Marius Joubert, (Rehab program), Joost van der Westhuizen (Rehab program).