Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, set to name a 30-man squad today for the one-off Test against Argentina on August 9 and the home leg of the Tri-Nations series, could produce a few more bolters.
Rugby 365 reports that most pundits expect De Villiers to “experiment” when he names the matchday 22 to face the Pumas in Johannesburg, but there is likely to be one or two surprises in the broader, 30-man, squad as well.
One player set to return to the Bok selection is World Cup-winning scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, unquestionably the world’s best scrumhalf in 2007. He has made a full recovery from the injuries that sidelined him during the June internationals and the Boks’ away leg of the Tri-Nations.
That means Bolla Conradie could find himself on permanent duty with his Currie Cup team, Western Province – unless of course De Villiers names three scrumhalves and uses Ruan Pienaar as a utility in the squad.
Media report at the weekend suggested that the biggest surprise could be at hooker, where replacement hooker Adriaan Strauss – flown to Australia after the suspension of Bismarck du Plessis – could replace Schalk Brits.
The latter started in the Perth Test, won 16-9 by Australia, but failed to convince that he is the type of player who could feature in a tight contest. His unwillingness to get involved on the close-quarter battles and his keenness to play out wide was seen as a contributing factor the Boks being blown away at the breakdown by the Wallabies.
He also played at No.8 for WP in a Currie Cup game at the weekend, a suggestion that his style makes him more of a ‘loose forward’ than a ‘tight forward’.
World Cup-winning prop Jannie du Plessis, who has been in impressive form for the Sharks in the Currie Cup, could also bolster the Boks’ front row resources.
He could come into the equation at the expense of Brian Mujati – another member of the large Province contingent in the Bok squad that did not live up to his reputation.
The big question is whether De Villiers will admit to his earlier selection blunders and be bold enough to beef up his pack with a few hard men.
The good news is that all three players injured in Australasia – Adi Jacobs, Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger – will be fit for consideration the squad of 22 for the Argentina Test.
The Springboks will assemble in Pretoria on Wednesday to prepare for the Test against Argentina.Tweet