Five Springboks with nine lives

2015-06-29 15:22
Frans Steyn (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has selected just about everybody in his extended Springbok squad, but 18 of the current group will not make the trip to England for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

There were few surprises in the 49-man squad announcement on Saturday, but a glance across the list of names does provide a few blasts from the past.

Here are five players that, at some stage or another, we wouldn't have expected to see in the mix for RWC 2015.


The 38-year-old retired, became a SuperSport analyst, coached, came back from retirement and then spoke about coaching some more. But Matfield remains very much a part of Meyer’s World Cup plans after having carefully managed his body for the last two years. It may seem hard to believe, but he is still the best lineout jumper in the business and could form a formidable partnership with Eben Etzebeth.


Steyn’s international career appeared done and dusted when he walked out on the Boks a year ago, allegedly over a contract dispute. But he is back in the mix now, and with his inclusion comes a host of new combination possibilities for Meyer. He was part of a dismal Super Rugby campaign with the Sharks, but he was one of a few players from that squad who finished the season with his head held high. Whether Meyer favours him at centre or fullback remains to be seen.


Fourie has notched up 72 caps for the Boks, but he retired from international rugby last year. That decision has now been reversed, and the 32-year-old Kobelco Steelers centre has so much pedigree that he is almost impossible to ignore as Meyer plots his way to the October 31 final. JP Pietersen, Damian de Allende, Lionel Mapoe and Jean de Villiers are the other options for Meyer at 13,  but Fourie remains the master of that trade.


A contentious pick among many South African fans, Steyn was never really ever out of Bok contention. But his Super Rugby absence combined with the successes of Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie - and more recently Elton Jantjies - has made many question his inclusion. Meyer remains a fan as Steyn’s trusty boot continues to be the main weapon in his arsenal. After the 2011 World Cup, though, very few would have backed Steyn to be a part of the tournament four years later.


Kirchner is only 31-years-old, but he has been at Leinster since 2013. The fullback has long been a subject of criticism for South African fans, and there are many who would have hoped that they had seen the last of him in a Bok jersey. But Meyer remains a believer, backing Kirchner’s tactical positioning and ability to read the game. It is hard to see the former Blue Bull featuring though, with Lambie, Steyn and Willie le Roux all options at 15. 


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