Experience the key for Boks

2011-06-21 09:06

J.J. Harmse

Pretoria - The country's two most experienced Test players, the most experienced lock pairing and the most experienced centre pairing to date, as well as 21 players who know the taste of champagne from the Webb Ellis Trophy, are among the 49 players from which Peter de Villiers will select his squad for the World Cup in September.

De Villiers on Monday announced a very experienced squad from which he will select 30 players on 23 August for the defence of the Word Cup.

The squad boasts 1 388 Tests between them and mostly consists of players that have been in De Villiers's plans since 2008.

Victor Matfield and John Smit are the country's most experienced players in Tests, Matfield and Bakkies Botha hold the record as lock pairing, and Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie are this year aiming for 50 Tests as a centre combination. There certainly won't be a lack of experience at the coach's disposal.

There are not really surprise omissions, though players such as Peter Grant and Sarel Pretorius will be wondering whether De Villiers and his selectors watched Super Rugby this year.

Pretorius, in particular, could feel aggrieved that he did not make the squad ahead of Ricky Januarie, while Grant's contribution to an outstanding Stormers team is far greater than that of Elton Jantjies to a struggling Lions side.

There was also the unexpected inclusion of former Sharks lock Johann Muller, who plays for Ulster these days. Dean Greyling, who was in the enlarged squad for the November tours, has also been called up.

Muller actually moved to Northern Ireland as he was no longer a Bok contender, but still maintained his good form at Ulster.

Greyling has played really well for the Bulls since stepping into the breach for the injured Gurthrö Steenkamp, but admits that he was pleasantly surprised to hear that he had made the squad.

"It's nice to know that you are seen. I was not really upset about not being in that first squad of 51 because my goal this year was to play a solid Super Rugby tournament. Fortunately I got a lot of opportunities with Guthie (Steenkamp) injured," said Greyling.

"Look, it's every guy's dream to play for the Boks and has been mine since I was five years old. That is why this is good news. I realise this is just a preliminary squad, but it's good to know I'm in the picture."

Springbok prop BJ Botha was also called up, which may be a pointer to SA Rugby not being able to solve the passport problems of Northampton Saints prop Brian Mujati.

The omission of World Cup-winning prop CJ van der Linde means the end of the road for him.

"We have a good squad here with the right blend of experience and youth. There are also a few players who have not yet played Test rugby and played their way into the squad during the Super Rugby tournament," said De Villiers.

He could just as well have mentioned Ashley Johnson here.

The Tri-Nations squad will also come from these players and will be announced on 2 or 9 July depending on the success of either the Sharks or Stormers in the play-off phase of the Super Rugby tournament.


  • PMG - 2011-06-21 09:16

    As much as I dislike Piliie Piet,I am starting to attain a feeling of silent confidence.The amount of pressure that is going to be on the All Blacks is huge.Lets see what happens - go Bokke.

      MN85 - 2011-06-21 15:01

      Tri-Nations Squad: 1. CJ van der Linde / Coenie Oosthuizen 2. John Smit (c) / Schalk Brits 3. BJ Botha / Gurthro Steenkamp 4. Flip Van Der Merwe / Rynhadt Elstadt 5. Johann Muller / Alastair Hargreves 6. Juan Smith / Ashley Johnson / Jean Deysel 7. Heinrich Brussow / Keegan Daniels / Francois Louw 8. Willem Alberts / Duane Vermeulen / Ryan Kankowski 9. Ruan Pienaar / Sarel Pretorious 10. Peter Grant / Butch James 11. Lwazi Mvovo / Bjorn Basson 12. Juan De Jongh / Doppies Le Grange 13. Wynand Olivier / Frans Steyn 14. JP Pietersen / Francois Hougaard 15. Frans Steyn / Patrick Lambie Rest / conditioning: Beast, Bismarck & Jannie Du Plesis, Victor Matfield, Andries Bekker, Bakkies, Schalk Burger, Fourie Du Preez, Morne Steyn, Jean De Villiers, Jacque Fourie, Brian Habanna , Gio Aplon World Cup Squad: (John Smit as captain but only to play in less crucial games) 1. Tendai Mtawarira / CJ van der Linde 2. Bismarck Du Plesis / Schalk Brits 3. BJ Botha / Jannie Du Plesis 4. Bakkies Botha / Johann Muller 5. Victor Matfield / Andries Bekker 6. Heinrich Brussouw / Francois Louw 7. Schalk Burger / Juan Smith 8. Duane Vermeulen / Willem Alberts 9. Fourie Du Preez / Ruan Pienaar 10. Morne Steyn / Peter Grant 11. Lwazi Mvovo / Brian Habanna 12. Jean De Villiers / Juan de Jongh 13. Jacque Fourie / Wynand Olivier 14. JP Pietersen / Francois Hougaard 15. Gio Aplon / Frans Steyn

  • René Müller - 2011-06-21 09:16

    Please, replace Butch with Grant and Januarie with Sarel. The only experience Januarie brings to the squad is "I know where all the fast food outlets are' (anywhere in the world). C'mon guys, listen to the supporters. We know something about rugby!!

      Makutu - 2011-06-21 09:28

      And remove Habana and replace him with Mvovo. Chilliboy or Deon Fourie for John Smit

      René Müller - 2011-06-21 09:38

      Makutu, As much as I like Habana, he certainly does not deserve the spot, Mvovo is an option amongst others, Chili has improved by leaps and bounds and are definitely one of my favourites!

      Napoleon Napoleon - 2011-06-21 09:43

      Why replace Grant, I would say Grant is our best flyhalf. According to todays news paper Grant is out, but Patric Lambie and Elton Jantjies is still in, even though Grant is much beter than them both. That I don't understand. I fully agree and support replace Januarie with Sarel.

      rugby_guru - 2011-06-21 09:58

      Makutu, why would we replace Chilliboy with John smit if we have Bismark? Listen we actually want to win this compo..

      TerraFic - 2011-06-21 09:58

      I agree Rene. Sarel deserves to be there. Never mind Butch being included in the squad, what about Elton? When comparing young and upcoming flyhalfs young Sias Ebersohn is up there with the best of them. He has a brilliant rugby mind. He is an excellent tactical player and to me compares with the likes of Carter & Cooper.

      sharks4playoffs - 2011-06-21 09:59

      @Makutu, agreed about Mvovo, but there is no way chilliboy or fourie should start ahead of Bismarck, he is by far the best hooker in SA rugby!!! @Napolean, Grant is a class player, should definitly be considered, but if you sw the Sharks bulls game you would have seen the form of young Lambie, the guy is fearless of running into tackles (as he did with Bakkies). I would not be surprised at all if Div starts Lambie at 10, frnas steyn at 15, JP and Lwazi on the wing!!!

      René Müller - 2011-06-21 10:21

      Sharks4, we are talking about the Springboks now, take off those 'black & white' sunglasses and try again. Chili ruled Bismark, be honest with yourself - it will set you 'free'. Bismark is a good hooker, however, Chili is on the up and is currently our no 1. Love or hate it, its a fact. And he will become our next Captian. Besides Chili doesn't have the typical 'brain farts' like Bismark does!

      René Müller - 2011-06-21 10:27

      Another thing that worries me about the selection (experience), most of these guys have won a W/C, 3N, B&I Tour, lots of Super & C/C (ok only the Bulls players), but, what I'm saying, when you go into these WC's you must be hungry to get your hands on that Webb Ellis Trophy. Are there enough 'hungry' players to achieve that?

      Makutu - 2011-06-21 10:35

      I've never said that they must omit Bismarck. i said they must omit John Smit with eother Deon Fourie or Chilliboy Ralepelle. To be honest, Chilliboy and Deon Fourie are playing an incredibly good game of rugby at the moment. Bismarck is better than bothe of them, so they could be his replacement. John Smit must just not go to the World Cup. He must go as part of the management team. Mvovo is way way ahead of Habana. If Habana starts ahead of Mvovo, I'll cry foul. There is no winger in the country better than Mvovo at the No. 11 jersy! He started in 6 matches and scored 6 tries. How beautiful is that?

      Frans Smith - 2011-06-21 11:28

      100% correct - Grant brings a lot more at 10 or 15 than Butch with his bad reputation. If it was not for his reputation (illegal tackling), i would have considered him. January has been out of shape and out of form for over 2 years....? Any other scrumhalf would do... Sarel does have the edge also in my book (or Jano Vermaak)

  • Makutu - 2011-06-21 09:17

    BJ Botha, John Smit, Butch James, Bryan Habana, Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha might just cost us the World Cup. There are much better players in the country than them. Much better!

      Patrick - 2011-06-21 10:30

      Makutu if you have not realised it by now experience wins the WC

      Makutu - 2011-06-21 10:38

      I have realized that old age doesn't win world cups. What was the everage age of the Boks winning squad in 2007? LOL! 28... With this one, we'll have an average age of 31 I tell you. And that my friend, will be suicide! Butch, Matfield, Bakkies, D Russouw, Smit, Juan Smith, Jean de Villiers, BJ Botha, Guthro, Muller and AD Jacobs are all 30 and above... Can't have that many old men in the WC squad. No says!!!! WE WILL LOSE!

  • scud - 2011-06-21 09:42

    The whole episode of constantly changing squads,and now naming just about everybody is crazy. I believe that Frik du Preez was not available.

      PMG - 2011-06-21 11:54

      If he was available,he would probably teach these young punks a good rugger lesson.

  • Sparky - 2011-06-21 09:42

    The Weather is going to be mostly wet in NZ and the kicking game is going to be played so we going to need big physical guys. My 30 man World Cup Squad. First choice / Second Choice 1. Beast / Connie 2. Bismark / Chilliboy / Smit 3. Jannie / Kruger or Steenkamp(Both Good) 4. Bakkies / Rossouw(can cover 8 aswell) 5. Matfield / Bekker(either to start) 6. Brussow / Buger(To cover 8 aswell) 7. Johnson / Alberts 8. Smith(Spies & Kank are a waste in the wet) 9. Fourie / Pienaar(Good in wet weather) 10. Grant / Steyn / James (either depending on who you playing) 11. Habana / Aplon 12. De Villiers 13. Fourie / De Jongh 14. JP / Hougaard 15. Frans Steyn / Lambie Its hard to only pick 30 guys. I would have lots of guys on standby waiting to fly incase of injuries. We are blessed with lots of talent in this country and i am sure everyone has there own World Cup Squad. Sparks

      Grey B - 2011-06-21 10:08

      Good team and good balance. This is also my 2011 World cup team. I'll include Duane Vermeulen i.l.o Brussow. Habana? maybe. Chilliboy? hmmm? Yes, I can also think of about 20 other guys who deserve to be there. We are very blessed with our talent and depth.

      ThePranksta - 2011-06-21 10:20

      Agree, except for Bakkies and James. They are a liability especially with the northern hemisphere refs. Rather include Elstadt.

      Patrick - 2011-06-21 10:32

      Like your selection :-)

      GraemeBB - 2011-06-21 10:54

      Sparky - Besides Smith on 8, a good team. I am afraid Smith played too little. I hate to say it, but my 2 no8's is still Spies and Vermeulen.

      AH - 2011-06-21 10:58

      Sparky I agree on some, but disagree on others. Firstly Steenkamp is a loose head and not a tight head. My team would be as follows: 1. Beast, Steenkamp 2. Bismark, Schalk Brits (he is in excellent form for Saracens) 3. Jannie, BJ 4. Bakkies 5. Matfield/Bekker 6. Brussow (because we need a fetcher)/ Burger 7. Alberts/Smith 8. Vermeulen/Rossouw 9. Hougaard/Fourie (fourie has not been his best self since injury) 10 Grant/Steyn/Butch 11. Mvovo/Habana 12. de Jongh 13. Fourie 14. De Villiers/Pietersen 15. Steyn Captain - De Villiers/ vice captain Victor

      Sparky - 2011-06-21 11:06

      @Makutu The only reason i included him is because he will be there and i was trying to be as accurate as i could. I dont think Grant will be there either. @ AH Sorry for the error with Steenkamp. Then i would pick Kruger at Tighthead and When the time comes pick between Connie and Steenkamp.

      Grey B - 2011-06-21 11:26

      We musnt forget about Basson, lightining quick and Habana has proven himself out of form, we have plenty of experience dont think we need more in Habana Lambie is a must I agree, Smit is a definate, not on form, but will be there Yes a big pity about Grant, what are they thinking - Elton Jantjies Schalk brits could ad a new dimension t the side, with his Northern hemisfere experience and ref experience. Bakkies is a real concern. He is really good, but if he loose his head(no pun intended) at the wrong time, it could cost us a world cup.

  • Marcell - 2011-06-21 09:55

    I thought winning is the key to keeping the trophy?

  • BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-21 09:57

    Only Expierience January has is eating, Pick Sarel he belongs in the squad. Grant much better than Jantjies stop picking players based on colour,the William Webb Ellis trophy doesnt care about colour but the best team wins the cup

      Marcell - 2011-06-21 10:03

      With that kind of thinking you must be a BULLS supporter. Good on ya mate!

      Marcell - 2011-06-21 10:05

      With that kind of thinking you must be a BULLS supporter. Good on ya mate!

      Grey B - 2011-06-21 12:57

      Marcell, must be the ecko in your head

  • Kuppy - 2011-06-21 10:06

    JJ you woun't say it so i will. This is not South Africa's best team, this team has been chosen to please the ANC and some of Pvd's pals. One can't blame the players for been chosen but the idiots who chose them. How can you leave out Peter Grant and Sarel Pretorius and then pick Butch James, Ricky Januarie and Elton Jantjies it is just plain wicked and evil. Rassie should should tell SARU to stick there money and resign with pride because this team is a total joke and don't stand a hope in hell holding on to there world cup title.

  • Patrick - 2011-06-21 10:33


      ThePranksta - 2011-06-21 10:37

      A combination of experience, fitness, hunger and youth wins a World Cup. Otherwise the SuperSport Commentating team will be the best SA team.

      Adolf - 2011-06-21 11:01

      The experiance in the Bulls didn't seemed to helped them in the super15.

      GraemeBB - 2011-06-21 16:33

      @Hitler - you mean experience? So, tell me, what was it then that saw the Bulls come back from absolutely nowhere, and win 6 tough games in a row?? I am a Bull, and I saw the loss, if not against the Sharks, in the first round of the play-offs. Pressure games take it out of a team, so I think they did quite well.

      Adolf - 2011-06-21 17:58

      @GraemeBB, my surname is not Hitler. Yes, the bulls have done great with their old players, and jet the Stormers (with less experience) and the sharks have done better. Yes it was good, but not enough.

  • Lachesis - 2011-06-21 10:53

    Jine min mense met min verstand het die span gekies, hulle moenie my se daars niemand better as Victor en Bakkies nie asb wie probeer hulle bluff, ek stem saam drop butch en januarie. Ek het nie rerag veel hoop vir ons bokke nie, hoekom hulle vir smith weer lat WC speel weet ek ook nie mar nou ja lyk my steve se liedjie gan na die keurders se kop toe hahaha maak die bulle almal bokke... Oja ek verkoop nou blou tee sakies wat julle klomp blou bulle an julle towbars kan hang met komplimente van die Sharkies af. PS ek is 'n Stormers onersteuner.

  • matthew - 2011-06-21 10:58

    Australia and New Zealand for the final!! To many old men and a dumb @ss of a coach!!!!

  • Douglas - 2011-06-21 11:45

    so stoked for the ruga world cup...

  • Hannes van der Linde - 2011-06-21 11:54

    Ok, let's have a look. '87 NZ won and tried to keep the core of the team for '91 - AUS won and tried to keep the core team the same for '95 - SA won and tried to keep the experience of the previous WC for '99 - AUS won and kept the core of the team the same for '03 - ENG won and kept the experienced players for '07 - SA won and as sure a bloody hell we are trying to opt for experience, keeping the core team the same to try and win '11.... guess what? WE ARE GONNA LOSE IT!!! Some of these guys have already been to two world cups!! FFS, give the youngsters a run in the 3N and see what you've got, but don't just fall back on what has been "tried and tested". People get old and lose form

  • Say-my-say - 2011-06-21 11:58

    OUT with Elton Janjies - he crumbles under pressure - and January - well his sell by date is past!! Other than that I think Piet is not too far off the mark, he has a good mix... Now how hungry to win are the BOKKE - GO BOKKE GO!!!

  • matthew - 2011-06-21 12:07

    January, Elton , John Smit, Bakkies, Spies, Ruan, Butch,Wynand Olivier and Adrian Jacobs are all the reason to see the downfall of the Bokke!!! - 2011-06-21 13:21

      I do believe we can still win it. Januarie, Jantjies, Butch, Smit, Pienaar and Olivier are all extremely lucky to be there.

  • StBad - 2011-06-21 16:22

    Maybe he's right, maybe experience is all that counts at a world cup... if so, they might as well post us the trophy.

  • Ronel - 2011-06-22 13:09

    Sparky and MN85 Guthro Steenkamp is'n loskop maw nr 1 nie n vaskop nie.

  • J10 - 2011-06-22 22:19

    Tri-nations team for away games. try new players before you pick wc squad. 1Coenie Oosthuizen 2Adrian Strauss(c) 3Werner Kruger 4Flip Van Der Merwe 5Andries Bekker 6Francois Louw 7Ashley Johnson 8Duane Vermeulen 9Francois Hougard 10Peter Grant 11Bjorn Basson 12Juan De Jongh 13Wynand Olivier 14JP Pietersen 15Gio Aplon 16Schalk Brits 17CJ van der Linde 18Alastair Hargreves 19Jean Deysel 20Ruan Pienaar 21Butch James 22Frans Steyn

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