Johannesburg – The pressure on Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and his assistants to keep their jobs appears to have brought about a change in plan and prompted them to opt for the strongest available team for South Africa’s Grand Slam tour next month.
Sport24 understands that De Villiers decided to pick the strongest possible Bok team following discussions with senior players and rugby bosses the past week.
The Boks also play the Barbarians in the first week of December, but are unlikely to field a full-strength side then.
De Villiers and his two assistants, Dick Muir and Gary Gold, came under fire the past few weeks about the Springboks’ weak performances against New Zealand and Australia in the Tri-Nations. The Boks could win only one of their six Tests against the All Blacks and Wallabies.
De Villiers dodged the axe, while Gold and Muir stayed only because suitable replacements could not be found.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) are, however, looking at how the Springbok coaching team can be strengthened, but are experiencing problems in convincing coaches to help the national team.
This could mean that De Villiers, Gold and Muir will have to come up with a formula to get the Boks back on the winning track themselves.
De Villier had requested provincial unions to release their players for a training camp from Monday until Wednesday where he planned to discuss the Boks’ game plan.
However, players from Western Province, the Blue Bulls and Sharks already had other obligations and De Villiers had to postpone his camp with en enlarged 39-man squad until Friday and Saturday.
There is still uncertainty about the availability of the players of the two teams that advanced to the Currie Cup final.
It is definitely not the start that De Villiers had in mind for his preparations for the forthcoming Bok tour, which will determine his future as national coach.
Overseas based players were not considered for the camp.
Preliminary Springbok Training Group:
Gio Aplon, Bjorn Basson, Juan de Jongh , Jean de Villiers, Bryan
Habana, Francois Hougaard, Adrian Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Ricky
Januarie, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Wynand Olivier,
JP Pietersen, Morne Steyn.
Forwards: Willem Alberts,
Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis,
Dean Greyling, Alistair Hargreaves, Ashley Johnson, Ryan Kankowski,
Werner Kruger, Victor Matfield, Gerhard Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira,
Coenie Oosthuizen, Dewald Potgieter, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw,
Juan Smith, Adriaan Strauss, Pierre Spies, Deon Stegman, CJ van der
Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.