Bulls' Bok numbers dwindle
JJ Engelbrecht (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Blue Bulls representation in the latest Springbok squad has dwindled after the Pretoria union lost several stars to overseas clubs.
Bulls players - JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein and Flip van der Merwe - made the cut for Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's 32-man squad
named on Monday for their End of Year tour to the UK and France, starting
In addition, none of the three are likely to be definite starters for the first Test against Wales in Cardiff, meaning we're likely to see a Bulls-less Springbok team run out at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, November 9.
The Bulls finished a lowly fifth in this year's Currie Cup competition after heading into the tournament with a young and inexperienced side.
The Bulls' lack of representation in the Green and Gold once again highlights the mass exodus of talent from Loftus Versfeld in recent months, with Zane Kirchner (Leinster), Morné Steyn (Stade Francais), Juandré Kruger (Racing Metro), Jano Vermaak (Toulouse) and Chiliboy Ralepelle (Toulouse) the most recent Springboks to leave.
In fairness to the Bulls, Arno Botha, Pierre Spies, Francois Hougaard weren't considered for selection due to injury. Whether they would've selected if fit - and at the expense of whom - only Meyer and his fellow selectors will know...
Western Province - who lost the Currie Cup final 33-19 to the Sharks over the weekend - have the most players in the squad with eight, followed by the Sharks (seven), the Free State Cheetahs and Bulls (three each) and Griquas (one). No Lions player made the squad after lock Franco van der Merwe was omitted.
The rest of the squad (10)
is made up overseas-based players. They are Steyn, Kirchner, Fourie du Preez (Suntory Sungoliath), Bryan Habana (Toulon), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse), Francois Louw (Bath), Bakkies Botha (Toulon), JP Pietersen (Panasonic Wild Knights) and Jaque Fourie (Kobelco Steelers).
Of the 10 playing abroad, three of them - Du Preez, Botha and Steenkamp - were previously at Loftus Versfeld.End of Year 32-man squad:Backs
Gio Aplon (WP), Jean de Villiers (WP, captain), Fourie du Preez (Suntory Sungoliath), JJ Engelbrecht (Blue Bulls), Jaque Fourie (Kobelco Steelers), Johan Goosen (Free State Cheetahs), Bryan Habana (Toulon), Zane Kirchner (Leinster), Pat Lambie (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Griquas), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), JP Pietersen (Panasonic Wild Knights, Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls), Louis Schreuder (WP), Morné Steyn (Stade Francais)Forwards
Willem Alberts (Sharks), Bakkies Botha (Toulon), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (WP), Siya Kolisi (WP), Francois Louw (Bath), Frans Malherbe (WP), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Scarra Ntubeni (WP), Coenie Oosthuizen (Free State Cheetahs), Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse), Adriaan Strauss (Free State Cheetahs), Flip van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (WP)Domestic representation in Springbok squad:WP (8):
Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers, Louis Schreuder, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Duane VermeulenSharks (7):
Pat Lambie, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Tendai MtawariraFree State Cheetahs (3):
Johan Goosen, Adriaan Strauss, Coenie OosthuizenBlue Bulls (3):
JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Flip van der MerweGriquas (1):
Willie le RouxGolden Lions (0)