First choice Boks to travel

Peter de Villiers says no Springboks will be rested for the year-end tour of Europe.

The Boks play five matches, including three Tests as well as two fixtures against English clubs, during November. The increased number of matches will mean a larger squad is named on 31 October, while the couple of matches against Leicester and Saracens – as well as the Test against Italy – will provide De Villiers with the opportunities to expose young talent.

The Bok coach admitted there were a few injury concerns, and that conditioning was necessary to keep the players at their peak, but said he would select his strongest squad – barring those overseas-based players.

‘At this moment, we are not looking to rest anyone,’ said De Villiers. ‘One or two need time to condition themselves to the level where they can perform at their best. I’ll have to talk to them about it, and if they don’t buy in we’ll have to force them … but we’ll have to keep them fresh for 2011.’

De Villiers has come under pressure from some sectors for the apparent lack of transformation in the Test team, but he said he would not bow to political pressure and select players who did not deserve to tour with the Boks.

‘Players want to be judged by their ability and not their colour. If a guy knows he’s there for the colour of his skin, he won’t die for his country. We are proud South Africans who want to be judged by our ability,’ he said.

Another issue since the Boks’ victorious Tri-Nations campaign has been Ruan Pienaar reverting to scrumhalf for the Sharks. De Villiers maintained that Pienaar is still his first choice No 10, but that concessions had to be made for the team.

‘Sometimes, I cannot go on my preferences and have to put the team first, and the team is comfortable with where we are.’