Vodacom Cheetahs captain Ollie le Roux believes his side has been hard done by in terms of Springbok selection.
The 28-man squad named by Jake White contains only three Free State players, namely Bevan Fortuin, CJ van der Linde and Juan Smith, the latter two not featuring in this year’s domestic competition. Le Roux called this a travesty, as his team had been the form side for the majority of the season, and so his players deserved due reward.
“We have a great team and have performed consistently for the entire competition,” Le Roux told keo.co.za. “I think the fact that most people underrate us says a lot for the attitude towards Free State players. Our guys have to work so much harder to become Springboks, while it seems lesser players from the bigger provinces are favoured more often.”
The record holder for the most first class rugby caps in South African history was not shy in naming specific players in the current Springbok squad who he feels don’t make the grade.
“Johann Muller and Johan Ackermann are not amongst the best locks in South Africa, and yet they have been picked to go to Ireland and England. Barend Pieterse and Rory Duncan have been incredible for the Cheetahs this season, and they totally outplayed the Bulls over the weekend. But for some reason, they have not been selected.
“In general, our pack has been the form one of the competition, and this was highlighted on Saturday. I’ve said it before, but Kabamba Floors is pound-for-pound the best rugby player I have ever played with. He made a guy like Pierre Spies look very average in the last game.”
Le Roux admits that it has been hard to accept the Currie Cup stalemate. If Meyer Bosman’s initial penalty attempt had been on target, then they would still be celebrating the win in Bloemfontein today. But the big No 1 was quick to point out that it took something special for the youngster to come back and nail the next kick, which ensured the draw.
Bosman has been used once off the bench this year for the Springboks, and subsequently enjoyed limited game time in the Currie Cup due to a broken hand. Last year, he was a big part of White’s World Cup plans, but his omission from this year’s touring party suggests White’s had a change of heart.
“Meyer should have gone on tour with the Boks,” said Le Roux. “Butch James has done nothing worthy of inclusion in the squad. It would have been better to take Meyer along and give him some more experience at the highest level. He has had a start to international rugby and just needs some more game time to develop.”
By Jon Cardinelli