Francois Steyn is the bolter in a brave but equally questionable Springbok squad selection for the tests against Ireland and England in November.
Kabamba Floors, man of the match in the 28-all Currie Cup final epic, failed to make the squad. Only six of the 44 players on show in the domestic final have made the national squad of 28.
Springbok coach Jake White and the selectors have left the bulk of their contracted players at home for the three tests, but still have not rewarded Currie Cup form, with the coach a week ago saying that he had learned nothing from the Currie Cup in the last three months. On Saturday night White applauded the Currie Cup as a window of what is good about South African rugby, but he couldn’t force himself to look inside the window.
If White’s eyes had been on the Currie Cup he may have favourably viewed the efforts of Barend Pieterse, Floors and Luke Watson, to name but three players. Bevan Fortuin is the only Free State player from Saturday’s Currie Cup final to make the squad, while Hilton Lobberts is the third new cap. The Lions outside centre Jaco Pretorius travels as back-up to Jaque Fourie.
White has also ignored the claims of overseas-based players like Cobus Visagie and Shaun Sowerby and he has again refused to pick a specialist open-side flanker in going for five tall ball carrying loose-forwards, who also provide lineout options.
White last week questioned the quality of defence in the Currie Cup semi-finals. Well, there was nothing to question defensively in the 100 minute war that doubled as a domestic final.
There are recalls for Johan Ackermann and Deon Carstens, while White has not considered Breyton Paulse, who starred in the last two Boks wins. Brent Russell has also been overlooked and more than half of the contracted Boks have been left at home due to rehabilitation, injury or the small matter of no longer being good enough.
Those players who will stay at home include Joe van Niekerk, Bakkies Botha, Os du Randt, Percy Montgomery, Fourie du Preez and Victor Matfield.
Springbok squad to play Ireland and England
Fullbacks – Francois Steyn and Bevan Fortuin
Wings - Akona Ndungane and JP Pietersen
Centres - Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Wyand Olivier and Jaco Pretorius
Flyhalves - Andre Pretorius and Butch James
Scrumhalves - Ricky Januarie and Ruan Pienaar
Loose-forwards -Juan Smith, Jacques Cronje, Pierre Spies, Pedrie Wannenburg and Hilton Lobberts
Locks – Albert van den Berg, Johan Muller, Danie Rossouw and Johan Ackermann
Props -CJ van der Linde, BJ Botha, Deon Carstens and Lawrence Sephaka
Hookers – John Smit (captain), Chiliboy Ralepelle and Gary Botha
Contracted players not touring
Os du Randt, Victor Matfield, Percy Montgomery, De Wet Barry, Marius Joubert, Wayne Julies, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Joe van Niekerk, Eddie Andrews, Hanyani Shimange, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Ashwin Willemse and Gurthro Steenkamp
Players not considered because of injury
Schalk Burger, Gurthro Steenkamp, Ashwin Willemse, Bakkies Botha and AJ Venter
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