New Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has included a number of players who did not compete in the Super 14 tournament in his training squad for a training camp to be held in the Cape.
Dan Retief of Superrugby reports that De Villiers’s first squad since succeeding Jake White as the Springbok coach was named by SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins in Durban on Saturday night — including overseas-based World Cup stars John Smit, Victor Matfield, Percy Montgomery and Butch James.
Also included were Isma-eel Dollie, who played under De Villiers in the Springbok under-21 side, even though he was released from the Stormers’ Super 14 group; Kabamba Floors, who dropped out of the Cheetahs side, Hilton Lobberts and Heini Adams, who have seen limited action with the Bulls, and Chiliboy Ralepelle, who has been recovering from a knee injury.
De Villiers did not include players from the Sharks because of their continued involvement in the Super 14 pla-offs. Players he requires from the Sharks will be added once their involvement in the Super 14 ceases.
De Villiers however was at pains to point out that he is busy with a sifting process. “I want to emphasise that this is a training squad, not a test squad,” he said. “I have selected certain players to work with them in a squad environment alongside the country’s finest players, and others because I felt I had not seen enough of them during the Vodacom Super 14.
One of the big surprises is a call-up for the young Lions lock Gerhard Mostert, but De Villiers has kept the World Cup squad intact — the absentees being retirees, Os du Randt and Bob Skinstad, the injured Andre Pretorius and Wayne Julies, Gary Botha, who is overseas.
The new coach has also ensured continuity by including a number of young players with previous involvement with the Springboks under Jake White while there are also recalls for Joe van Niekerk, Meyer Bosman, Tonderai Chavhanga and Jongi Nokwe.
A number of highly promising young players who stood out in the Super 14, such as Duane Vermeulen and Zane Kirchner, have also been drawn into the mix.
The training group, which assembles on Wednesday, May 21, is as follows:
Heini Adams, Gcobani Bobo, Meyer Bosman, Tonderai Chavhanga, Jean de Villiers, Isma-eel Dollie, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Peter Grant, Bryan Habana, Butch James, Enrico Januarie, Conrad Jantjes, Zane Kirchner, Louis Ludik, Percy Montgomery, Akona Ndungane, Jongi Nokwe, Wynand Olivier, Earl Rose.
Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Wian du Preez, Kabamba Floors, Hilton Lobberts, Victor Matfield, Gerhard Mostert, Brian Mujati, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw, John Smit (c), Juan Smith, Pierre Spies, Gurthrö Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Heinke van der Merwe, Wikus van Heerden, Joe van Niekerk, Duanne Vermeulen, Luke Watson.