Ricky Januarie’s was the most notable name missing from a 37-man squad for a Springbok national planning camp.
Ruan Pienaar, Butch James, Frans Steyn and Ashley Johnson are added to the squad after missing an April camp, which featured 51 players. Surprisingly there is no room for Northampton’s powerful tighthead prop, Brian Mujati.
Januarie has been a consistent pick for the Springboks in recent years, despite his mediocrity at Test level. He was widely expected to make the squad for the tournament in New Zealand, but his hopes now look all but over, despite coach Peter de Villiers insisting in a statement that this was not the case.
‘The fact that a player may not have been included in this group does not mean they are out of the running for the International season by any means,’ De Villiers said. ‘The first session was designed to get an expanded group onto the same page and this reduced group with senior players, and one or two newcomers, is designed to go into more detail.’
The other men to be cut from the expanded squad are: Bjorn Basson, Keegan Daniel, Peter Grant, Alistair Hargreaves, Adi Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Ryan Kankowski, Zane Kirchner, Francois Louw, Bandise Maku, Lionel Mapoe, Charl McLeod, Waylon Murray, Dewaldt Potgieter, Sarel Pretorius, Deon Stegmann, CJ van der Linde.
Jacobs and CJ van der Linde are awarded one-year Springbok contracts in March. Van der Linde being left out suggests that skipper John Smit, although travelling primarily as a hooker, will be used to cover prop.
Basson can feel particularly disappointed with his omission, in light of the fact that he tops the Super Rugby try scorer’s list. Sarel Pretorius, the Cheetahs scrumhalf who has impressed throughout their Super Rugby campaign, can also count himself unlucky.
The Stormers’ impressive No 8 Duane Vermeulen remains in with a chance making the final 30-man squad, while there was also a reward for form for Cheetahs hooker Adriaan Strauss. He is, however, unlikely to make the final cut, with Smit, Bismarck du Plessis and Chiliboy Ralepelle likely to be the three hookers going.
Bok planning squad: John Smit (c), Victor Matfield (v/c), Willem Alberts, Gio Aplon, Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Heinrich Brüssow, Schalk Burger, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Butch James, Ashley Johnson, Werner Kruger, Pat Lambie, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Wynand Olivier, Coenie Oosthuizen, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Francois Steyn, Morné Steyn, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen