Peter de Villiers is working on a 4-year plan, but the main reason why Victor Matfield and Percy Montgomery are on the bench is because of their late arrival.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has taken the first steps of what he sees as a four-year process.
Pieter Jordaan writes in Volksblad that, that is why the South African run-on team to play Wales here on Saturday shows ten changes from the starting line-up for the rugby World Cup final in France last year.
But De Villiers says Percy Montgomery and Victor Matfield will be on the bench because of their late arrival at last week’s training camp in Cape Town.
The new national coach said on Thursday his four-year plan had much to do with the number of changes he had made to the team that beat England in the World Cup final.
He added, however, “The reason for Percy and Victor not being in the starting line-up is that they joined the training squad a little late.
“I know you’re going to ask about John Smit, who also joined us late. But Victor has played a bigger role from outside the team than he may have done from within the team.
“It was a difficult decision but at some point one has to start thinking about the four years ahead,” De Villiers said.
Time to come and a time to go
“There is a saying: “There’s a time to come and a time to go.” To some people the time to go may be earlier than they thought while, for others, the time to come may be some time away.”
De Villiers said he and Smit, the captain, and the assistant coaches had spoken to Matfield and Montgomery about the reasons for their omission from the run-on team before the names were announced.
The two World Cup stars were satisfied with the roles assigned to them, he said.
Versatile Francois Steyn did not make the final 22 but his equally versatile Sharks team-mate Ruan Pienaar was included as a substitute after scrumhalf Ricky Januarie had been dropped for disciplinary reasons and Bolla Conradie was installed at No 9.
Lock Andries Bekker and prop forward Brian Mujati are the only uncapped players in the squad.
Bekker, son of former Springbok lock Hennie Bekker, will become the tallest South African Test player in history. Standing 2.08m-tall, he will break the record held by 2.04m-tall Johnny Trytsman and Niel Hugo.
Prop forward Mujati and wing Tonderai Chavhanga were both born in Zimbabwe. Mujati’s inclusion means that CJ van der Linde will also be on the bench.
Adrian Jacobs, who last played Test rugby in 2005, has also been included in the starting line-up.
Conrad Jantjes, Tonderai Chavanga, Adrian Jacobs, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Butch James, Bolla Conradie, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Luke Watson, Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Brian Mujati, John Smit (capt), Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Substitutes: Bismarck du Plessis, CJ van der Linde, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Ruan Pienaar, Peter Grant, Percy Montgomery.