Cape Town - According to Sport24 readers, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has picked on reputation, and not form, in a very conservative first squad of the year.
The squad was named for the first of two planned national training camps to be held in Cape Town from April 14-16, with Meyer and the national selectors inviting 36 players to attend.
In naming his squad, Meyer was quick to point out that consistency was a key part of his game-plan.
important to keep continuity and it was very difficult to select only
36 players, as there are many more that are currently playing great
Meyer also stressed that the squad was by no means finalised.
"This group is by no means a final one for the June Tests and could
still change in the coming months. There are other players that
impressed me in the last couple of weeks and if they continue to keep up
their form I will look at them for the second camp."
Although three exciting new talents were picked in the form of Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jan Serfontein and Robert Ebersohn, Sport24 readers felt that the squad had a look of 'the usual suspects' about it, not taking into account the exciting form shown by new faces in Super Rugby this year.
Most of the players championed by Sport24 readers for inclusion - that weren't - were Cheetahs players Sarel Pretorius, Heinrich Brussouw, Lappies Labuschagne, Trevor Nyakane, Willie le Roux, Stormers wing Gio Aplon and Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach were those most often mentioned, while the general consensus was that some of the players that did make the 36-man squad, were very lucky to do so.
This is what Sport24 readers had to say about the squad:
"With this, it's clear that Heyneke Meyer will yet again select a team based on reputation and not on form." - Jeandre.Davel
"I find this
squad shocking! Some player have played out of their skins so far, but all for nothing, while injured players are invited to the camp to be spectators. My opinion
is that Heyneke should have looked at in-form players and given them an equal
opportunity to compete for a spot.If the Boks want to win they need exciting players." - Regan
"Bokke need more players who can bring the x-factor rather than playing predictable boring rugby no one want to watch. Bok backline players just makes up the numbers. no.10 kicks, others chase!" - Wesley Elie
"Some very good players left out." - Nasief Abrahams
"I believe the time has come for all Bok die-hards to turn into Bok antagonists because of the coach's ever evident partial, conservative and one dimensional selection policy. Let's just watch the great Green and Gold get further behind our rivals and hope SARU see the light which directs them to a better Bok mentor." - Sabelo Mashego
"It looks like he is keeping the core that struggled to perform in Europe last year and not experimenting too much, like he should be doing, because players who have been great in Super Rugby would bring back the spark to the Springboks!" - Tyronne Jardim
"HM gameplan is too one dimensional and predictable. It showed in the All Blacks game when they ran rings around our immobile pack passing the ball in the tackle and creating space. I would have either White or Mallet back anyday." - Andrew James
"Heineken continues to persist with his Bulls bias. So sad we continue to select on sentiment over real data. I bet if we had a kiwi coach we would own world rugby." - Mugs Murray James
"I think this squad is a joke and biased! I'm outraged by this selection!" - Shaun Schuit
Pieter-Steph du Toit was an exciting selection in an otherwise very "samey" squad. (Gallo Images)