Cape Town - The Lions have been "rewarded" for their stellar play in this year's Super Rugby with 9 players named in Allister Coetzee's 31-man Springbok squad to play France in their three-Test series in June.
The Boks and French will do battle at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on June 10, followed by matches in Durban (June 17) and Johannesburg (June 24).
The Lions, runaway leaders of the Africa Conference 2, saw Ruan Dreyer, Jaco Kriel, Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert and new skipper Warren Whiteley named among the forwards, while Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies and Courtnall Skosan will battle it out for starting backline positions.
The Stormers, leaders of the Africa Conference 1, have 7 representatives (Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Damian de Allende and Dillyn Leyds).
The struggling Bulls' 5 players in the squad are Lood de Jager, Lizo Gqoboka, Jesse Kriel, Rudy Paige and Jan Serfontein, while the Sharks have 4 players in Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Lukhanyo Am.
Coetzee found room for 2 Cheetahs players (Oupa Mohoje and Raymond Rhule), while the Kings have no players in the squad.
The remaining 4 players - Steven Kitshoff, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Hougaard, Frans Steyn - are, ironically, all France-based and not affiliated to a South African side.
Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Ruan Dreyer, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Lizo Gqoboka, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley (captain)
Lukhanyo Am, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Damian de Allende, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Rudy Paige, Raymond Rhule, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Frans Steyn