SA Rugby’s intention to send the strongest possible Springbok team to Britain next month means there should be no major surprises when the squad is announced in Durban on Saturday evening.
Liam del Carme, www.sport24.com
There have been calls for some senior players to be rested with a view to next year’s British and Irish Lions tour but this seems unlikely.
There should be little doubt about the players who will form the cornerstone of the team.
A few positions, however, will require some hard thinking from Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and his selectors.
De Villiers has to select a flyhalf for this tour that will remain, ideally, with the squad right through to the 2011 World Cup tournament in New Zealand.
With Butch James out of contention, Western Province and Stormers pivot Peter Grant may be the man.
Grant has enjoyed a consistent season and performed rather well last year when he was given the No 10 jersey in a weakened Springbok team for the away matches in the Tri-Nations series.
With Ruan Pienaar not assured of playing at scrumhalf on this tour it is unlikely that another specialist flyhalf will be chosen as a backup for Grant.
Pienaar and his Sharks team-mate Frans Steyn will probably be included as all-rounders.
Steyn can cover for Conrad Jantjes at fullback while the WP player receives an opportunity to establish himself in Percy Montgomery’s position.
Jongi Nokwe should be a certainty for the squad, but Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen are likely to first-choice wings for the Test matches.
With Jaque Fourie back to form, the selection of the outside centre will be keenly watched.
Equally interesting will be De Villiers’s choice for the position of a second fetcher on the flank.
Luke Watson is facing a disciplinary hearing and his game has been off the boil anyway. Therefore, the door is open for players such as Heinrich Brüssouw, Cobus Grobbelaar, Jacques Botes and Wikus van Heerden.
De Villiers did not overstock his team with lock forwards for the Tri-Nations series but he dare not come up short in this respect for a tour in the northern hemisphere.
Bakkies Botha may still be included even though he has been injured and Danie Rossouw should also be in the squad.
The depth among the prop forwards will provide a challenge. Now that CJ van der Linde is playing in Europe, tighthead Brian Mujati could find himself in the starting lineup, even though he has not met everyone’s expectations this year.
De Villiers prefers smaller squads and it is unlikely that he will send a third hooker.
The team will play Wales in Cardiff on November 8, Scotland at Murrayfield on November 15 and England at Twickenham on November 22.
A possible squad:
Backs: Conrad Jantjes, Odwa Ndungane, Jongi Nokwe, JP Pietersen, Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie, Adrian Jacobs, Frans Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Peter Grant, Ruan Pienaar, Fourie du Preez and Ricky Januarie.
Forwards: Ryan Kankowski, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Heinrich Brüssouw, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Andries Bekker, Danie Rossouw, Brian Mujati, Jannie du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and John Smit.Tweet