PdV retains overseas policy

Peter de Villiers says Jean de Villiers and Frans Steyn will not feature in his 37-man squad for the Springboks’ year-end tour to Europe.

The Boks will select an enlarged group as extra matches against Saracens and the Leicester Tigers have been scheduled and De Villiers will expose young talent in the lesser games.

For the Tests against France and Ireland his first-choice players will start, but De Villiers maintained that Jean de Villiers and Steyn – who were key members of the Boks’ Tri-Nations campaign – will now have to fight their way back into the team as they are based overseas.

‘They know where they stand,’ said De Villiers. ‘You have to be in the country to make the Bok side. We will get someone to fill in for them.

‘Nobody thought Percy Montgomery and Os du Randt could be replaced. This is an ideal opportunity for two new players to grab their opportunities and take those places.’

At a press conference on Wednesday, the Bok coach was visibly unhappy at Ruan Pienaar reverting back to scrumhalf for the Sharks, although he didn’t communicate with Sharks management where he wanted them to play Pienaar. De Villiers still regards him as a flyhalf, and said he would have to improve his goal-kicking if he wishes to oust Morne Steyn.

Pienaar had a solid outing in the Boks’ first Tri-Nations match in Bloemfontein, but his attempts at posts were wayward, and he hasn’t started in the 10 jersey since.

‘Ruan’s a creator, decision-maker and an immense talent … he’s cut out to be a flyhalf,’ said De Villiers. ‘But Morné kicks like a machine and it’s a rarity when he misses. You can’t ignore that.

‘There are reasons for Ruan not reaching his potential this year. These include injuries and the lack of goal-kicking opportunities at his union, but as coach I understand now that talent cannot always be the only measure.

‘It’s also about your contribution in the team context and in that sense I cannot do without Morné. He is a brilliant goal-kicker.’

Talking about his tour plans, De Villiers said the starting XV for the France Test will only fly out to Europe on 6 November – the day of the Tigers match. The 22 for the Leicester fixture will arrive in London on 2 November.

‘Those 15 guys will prepare in South Africa for the Test against France, but everyone in the 22 for the game against the Leicester Tigers will have a chance of making the substitutes bench for the Test in Toulouse,’ he said.

De Villiers said this tour was a perfect platform to expose new individuals to the Bok culture.

‘We want to show a few players what it means to be a Springbok, but nobody will get a cheap blazer from me. They have to deserve it.’