Tests act as trials for Boks

2010-04-21 22:37

Stephen Nell

Cape Town – South Africa’s first four rugby Tests this year will serve as extended trials for Springbok coach Peter de Villiers’ search for contenders for next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

De Villiers told Sport24 on Wednesday that he viewed the matches against Wales (June 5 in Cardiff), France (June 12 at Newlands) and the two Tests against Italy (June 19 and 26 in Witbank and East London) as “four chances to consider which players are good enough to represent South Africa at the World Cup”.

He is planning on picking a team made up largely of South Africa’s northern provinces for the Test in Witbank. After that he will pick mostly from the provinces in the south for the second Test in East London.

“We are not underestimating Italy at all. We have a lot of respect for them and consider them the best scrumming side in the world. They will test us thoroughly in the scrums and we’ll get a good idea of who the best players are in that area,” said De Villiers.

“I’m looking at a northern team in Witbank and a southern team in East London. It does not mean that we won’t pick some guys from the south in the northern side and vice versa. We want to win those Tests.”

No South African player that represents South Africa in the Super 14 final on May 29 will be considered for the first Test of the year against Wales in Cardiff.

As far as that Test is concerned, De Villiers will consider “four or five” players plying their trade overseas, but whom he believes may still be able to add value to the Boks.

“We don’t know how good the overseas players really are because the competitions there are different,” said the coach.

“The best South African team will play against France after that.”

Apart from the players on the injured list, De Villiers hopes to see everyone in action in those games who could possibly be contenders for the World Cup.

“Those four games are of critical interest on the road to the World Cup. By then we would have seen everyone in action.”

South Africa will enter the Tri-Nations (against Australia and New Zealand) with their “best representative team”.

He will first consider players in South Africa, but overseas-based players will be picked if they are better.

“We will consider players in South Africa for the Tri-Nations unless we have a situation where the locally-based player is not as good as the one overseas.”

De Villiers will also identify players that he believes should not play in the Currie Cup until the semi-finals.

“They will not rest, but will be conditioned with a view to next year. They will be available for the semi-finals and final,” he said.

De Villiers hopes to take the 30 players he has identified for the World Cup squad on South Africa’s Grand Slam tour at the end of the year.

“It will be the last opportunity to build a camp around rugby prior to the World Cup. If the players gel the way I think they can, we’ll have cohesion the next time we tour.”

De Villiers realises there is an inherent risk to all the changes he will be making from week to week in those four Tests, but believes it’s in the best interests of South African rugby.

“My ability as coach will be tested because I have a week to build a team. I know I may be shooting myself in the foot if my aim is to set records, but it’s the right thing for South African rugby.”


  • Billy - Plett - 2010-04-21 23:08

    Awesome - let me guess the 4 players - Jean de Villiers, Frans Steyn, CJ van der Linde and BJ Botha. I doubt Butch will get a look in.

  • ukBOK - 2010-04-21 23:21

    Great! Just bought tickets for the Wales game. Can I have my money back. grmffff...

  • bulawayo-based-bok - 2010-04-21 23:25

    slow down have done well so far with arguably the strongest bok squad in history, but if we lose some tests and underperform in the tri nations then i would quite easily prefer a coach like Heyneke Meyer to take us to wc victory in NZ!!!!......anyway these would be my players for the North and South sides:NORTH: steenkamp, botha, Janse van rensburg,f vdMerwe&franco vdMerwe, Stegmann,Potgieter,Frans Viljoen,Sarel,riann viljoen, van den heever,la Grange,Ebersohn,Mapoe,Killian.........SOUTH:1.Blaauw,Liebenberg, Beast,Sykes,Bekker,Botes,Louw,Vermuelen,Duvenhage,Grant,Mvovo,Swanepoel,De Jongh,JJ Engelbrecht,Lambie(RESTING KEY BOKS for Italy matches)

  • Lou - 2010-04-22 00:06

    Holy crud, Bulawayo-based Bok, that might be the most ridiculous opinion on rugby I have ever seen on the net. Well done, Boyo, just don't take yourself seriously... Ebersohn, Movo, JJ Engelbrecht, Doppies, every Viljoen in pro rugby as Boks?!? You taking the piss, right?

  • kevin - 2010-04-22 05:02

    Rest is what the players need. Overseas players must get the nod as guys like Joe van Niekerk are in outstanding form.

  • Blue Bull Hater/Anti-Blue Bull - 2010-04-22 06:30

    This is a very good idea SNORRE!!

  • STORMER - 2010-04-22 07:13

    For the Greater good....our core players need some serious MENTAL rest going into 2011. I still feel we should have used last years EYT to blood a few more players. I am not totally against what P Divvy is suggesting.....

  • Jonno - 2010-04-22 07:32

    I'm pretty sure that we could create 2 very very strong sides from either North or South so I don't think there is anything to worry about. For instance, Bekker vs Matfield. Stormers, Bulls and Sharks both have super front row packs and lighting backs all over the place. We have a wealth of talent North and South, so we can create at least 2 sides. And we have to have an opportunity to see everyone play...

  • Far and Away - 2010-04-22 07:34

    This is classic spin-doctoring....He want to stage another "development tour" in the same vain as his previous disaster to the UK, and he is trying (in advance) to soften our expectations. GET REAL!!! We have more rugby being played than ever before, against international opposition. We have a bigger pool of form players than ever before, plus the largest "experienced players pool" in history. Sorry Piet, but if you don't know what you have now, then you are blind! It is a bit like the cake league at school - everybody gets a chance to play. Except then we made cake cheap, and not the national jersey.

  • Tehan - 2010-04-22 07:42

    Well done PeeDiddi, its about time we start working on our depth

  • BOK BE%&%&*^OK - 2010-04-22 08:28

    So guess who won't be buying tickets for the EL test...was conned for the third British Lions Test last year...R1140 later and a pathetic Bok team was put onto the park...we all know what happened !! So Pdv will hand out test caps on a platter !!

  • Vomit - 2010-04-22 08:39

    I thought he said he won't be giving out Springbok caps to just anyone (and so doing making it 'cheap'), but that's exactly what he's planning for the Italy tests.

  • Dan - 2010-04-22 09:05

    Just a ploy to get his golden boy Earl "The Pearl" Rose a Springbok cap!!!! That will be the darkest day in Springbok history!

  • Weepee - 2010-04-22 09:21

    1st off to use a test as trials is an insult to the touring team and the people that are paying good money to watch a test. Secondly you should be the best to wear the green & gold and 3rd'ly if PDV has to play 4 tests to identify his best 30 players then what the hell has he been doing the last 2 years. Then again he thinks Earl Rose is the 2nd best fullback in the country so who knows. Idiot!

  • Louwrens - 2010-04-22 09:28

    toetse kan nie dien as proewe nie, dan moet die spelers ook nie springbok kleure kry nie, `n mens maak nie jou nasionale kleure cheap nie. Noem dit dan eerder `n uitnodiging span.

  • Bok - 2010-04-22 10:25

    We need to see what we have. We don't want a situation like in the 2007 WC when our second-stringers played against Tongo and we almost lost. How else are you going to know that a certain player is good enough for international rugby? Earl Rose we know now is not good enough - thank heavens! (Besides I don't think Dick Muir will be putting a good word for him) You can't try this against NZ or Aus in the Tri Nations, so the best will be the first few tests. I don't agree with the north & south teams - it should be about combinations. Rest your senior guys like Victor, John, Schalk, Fourie, Habana, etc. Let's see what we have in their place. What if one of them gets injured during the Tri Nations of next year and is out of the WC. How are you then going to find a replacement then if you didn't look at the players now? We need to find adequate replacements and this is the only way how. Some of out positions are not covered well enough (i.e. tighthead). But choose them based on the strongest combinations, not geography.

  • Nic - 2010-04-22 10:29

    I think PDV strategy is great, especially with the little time he has to test players. At least he will be giving the overseas players a go if they prove themselves, I think alot of awesome talent lies in our overseas players and they always come back more mature. I can bet my bottom dollar that Earl Rose will not even be considered. Good luck to PDV and may you make the right choices.

  • Far and Away - 2010-04-22 10:31

    @Tehan.. i hope sincerely that you are being sarcastic: 1. You got it backwards. You do not work on your depth at that level. You develop it at schools, clubs, provincial and then Super 14 levels. For example, if Earl Rose was to play a 100 tests, he would not "develop" into a legitimate international full back. 2. We have too much depth. So, much so, we can't even manage what we have properly. Case in point, we can put together an experienced team just with players playing abroad. Our problem has never been depth, but finding coaches and management who can manage our talent accordingly.

  • Eurobok - 2010-04-22 12:01

    You have to mentally retarded not to see the folly of this. After two years, a "development tour" the tri-nations series, and the current super 14, all international competitions, and PdV doesn't know who the best players are? Giving away caps like free pamphlets? I have an idea, why not put a different coach in charge of every test, maybe we'll see who the best coach is to take us to the next RWC!

  • Leon Ross (Stormer) - 2010-04-23 20:51

    This I can not believe. When Snorre tried new players on the EYT 2009 to strengthen depth, he was crucified through the bank (Earl Rose was a failure, granted). He was severely criticized for not resting senior Boks, but now that he has a plan, at least, there are still 'rugby intellectuals' among us that just keep on criticizing. Do you remember what Jake did? The 2006 season was disastrous because of key players being "injured" and he sent a totally under strength team to tour Australasia for the TN in 2007, thus resting and conditioning the players he identified to win the William Webb Ellis trophy. OK, fair enough. The north team/south team idea sounds a bit suspect. But what in the name of Zeusius Butt-hole is the coach supposed to do? It doesn’t help crying over last years EYT. That’s spilt milk. Let the Bok management do what they need to do in order to take 2 (two) very competitive teams to RWC 2011 in NZ. Or do you want to sit and chew your nails again when we play one of the South-Sea Island countries.

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