Heyneke’s favoured fifteen

Bulls utility back Francois Hougaard is among a select group of 15 players awarded national contracts.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has also rewarded Bulls captain Pierre Spies and struggling Sharks utility back Frans Steyn.

No player based outside of South Africa qualifies for a national contract.

Meyer has awarded contracts to four loose-forwards, two locks, two hookers, two props, two utility backs in Hougaard and Pat Lambie and two specialist midfielders in Bok captain Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh.

Frans Steyn has also been awarded a national contract.

SPRINGBOK CONTRACTED PLAYERS: Willem Alberts (Sharks), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Juan de Jongh (Western Province), Jean de Villiers (Western Province), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (Western Province), Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls), Pat Lambie (Sharks), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Pierre Spies (Blue Bulls), Frans Steyn (Sharks), Adriaan Strauss (Free State Cheetahs), Flip van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Western Province)