Why PdV went with 23

Peter de Villiers is worried about the lack of depth in the Springbok squad.

The coach selected several fringe players for the third Test against the British & Irish Lions, most of whom he says failed to take the opportunity. Of course, 10 changes were made for that game, which made it difficult for someone like new cap Zane Kirchner to make an impact at fullback, when his wings (Jongi Nokwe and Odwa Ndungane) have made only a handful of appearances at this level.

De Villiers, though, believes he overestimated the depth in Bok rugby and has only selected 23 players in his Tri-Nations squad, rather than the normal 28.

‘We have guys who are very good in the Currie Cup when they play against each other, but have not quite made it at Test level,’ he told the Cape Times. ‘The Lions tour opened our eyes and made us see that our depth is not that good. We cannot just look for quick-fix solutions. Sometimes it takes longer for players to adjust to a higher level.’

The Bok coach said he could call up additional players at any time.

‘We are trying to keep our options open going forward,’ he said. ‘The guys who don’t play in the Tests get frustrated and need game time. That’s why those who were part of the squad for the Lions series and did not make this Tri-Nations squad can now play for their provinces. They are just a short flight away from the squad if we need them.’