Div queries T3N in a RWC year
Peter de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - South Africa coach Peter de Villiers does not believe the Tri-Nations should be held in a World Cup year but he still has high expectations of his second-string squad for the opening two matches of the tournament.
"If we have an extended Super 15 competition, then it would be sensible to not also have the Tri-Nations in a World Cup year. But it's there on our schedule and we will use the opportunity," De Villiers told reporters on Friday.
"The excitement for the tour has really taken off this week and our expectations are very high because we are still representing our country. We want to win all our games and we are really confident. (captain) John Smit fired up the boys like only he can and we now have one week to fine-tune."
The Springboks fly out on Friday for games against Australia in Sydney on July 23 and New Zealand in Wellington on July 30, with 21 leading players out of action due to minor injuries after an expanded Super Rugby competition.
Smit, one of only a handful of players going on tour who will be confident of playing in the September and October World Cup, said he would still be leading a fine squad into battle.
"If this is a 'B' team, then the 'B' stands for Boks. We're going there to play rugby, not to make up the numbers and that's what we did the last time we took a so-called 'second-string' team over there," Smit said.
The Springboks were criticised in 2007 for touring Australia and New Zealand without most of their frontline players, including Smit, and although they lost two tight games the move paid dividends as they won the World Cup three months later.
De Villiers confirmed that flanker Heinrich Brussow, prop CJ Van der Linde and lock Johann Muller had been passed fit and would be flying out with the squad.
Squad - Gio Aplon (Stormers), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Juan de Jongh (Stormers), Wynand Olivier (Bulls), Bjorn Basson (Bulls), Morne Steyn (Bulls), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Ashley Johnson (Cheetahs), Danie Rossouw (Bulls), Heinrich Brussow (Cheetahs), Alistair Hargreaves (Sharks), Johann Muller (Ulster), Werner Kruger (Bulls), John Smit (Sharks), Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), Dean Greyling (Bulls), Flip van der Merwe (Bulls), Ryan Kankowski (Sharks), Charl McLeod (Sharks), Adrian Jacobs (Sharks), Patrick Lambie (Sharks), Jean Deysel (Sharks), Odwa Ndungane (Sharks), Deon Stegmann (Bulls), Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), Elton Jantjies (Lions), CJ van der Linde (Stormers)