De Villiers picks on form

New Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has gone for form over reputation b y selecting four uncapped players in his 30-man squad to face Wales next week. [more]

De Villiers picks on form

New Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has gone for form over reputation b y selecting four uncapped players in his 30-man squad to face Wales next week.

With a year to go until the world champions welcome the 2009 British & Irish Lions, de Villiers has proved he is prepared to make tough calls by leaving World Cup winner JP Pietersen out of his first squad.

Among the four uncapped players drafted in to face the 2008 Grand Slam champions are two Zimbabwean props, Tendai Mtawarira and Brian Mujati. They, along with wing Tonderai Chavhanga, all qualify to play for the Springboks through South African residency.

Sharks lock Andries Bekker and Sharks wing Odwa Ndungane are the other new faces in a squad that includes 11 coloured players.

"The squad was picked entirely on merit and every player named deserves his spot. I congratulate them all and look forward to the challenges of Wales and Italy that are now upon us," said de Villiers of his first test squad.

"I don’t know how many players of colour we’ve chosen and I don’t care. It wasn’t easy cutting down the squad to 30, and that is how it should always be.

"A lot of guys put up their hands and I want to make it clear that the Springbok door is not shut to anyone.

The number is five more than were included in the 2007 World Cup winning squad.

De Villiers has also had his back room staff beefed up by the addition of National Teams Manager Andy Marinos and Anne-lee Murray. Former Wales centre Marinos has been seconded for the short-term, while Murray will become a full-time administration co-ordinator.

Springbok Squad

Forwards: Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, BJ Botha, Bismarck du Plessis, Ryan Kankowski, Victor Matfield, Tendai Mtawarira, Brian Mujati, Danie Rossouw, John Smit (c), Juan Smith, Pierre Spies, Gurthro Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Joe van Niekerk, Luke Watson.

Backs: Gcobani Bobo, Tonderai Chavhanga, Bolla Conradie, Jean de Villiers, Peter Grant, Bryan Habana, Adrian Jacobs, Butch James, Conrad Jantjes, Ricky Januarie, Percy Montgomery, Odwa Ndungane, Ruan Pienaar, Francois Steyn.

Of the original training squad, the following players were not considered because of injury:

Heini Adams, Meyer Bosman, Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Zane Kirchner, Wikus van Heerden and Duanne Vermeulen.

The Springbok Management Team: Head Coach: Peter de Villiers; Assistant Coaches: Dick Muir and Gary Gold; National Teams Manager (seconded): Andy Marinos; Technical Assistant: Peter Maimane; Logistics Manager: Charles Wessels; Team Doctor: Dr Craig Roberts; Physiotherapist: René Lombard; Conditioning Coach: Neels Liebel; Baggage master: Philip Malakoane; Administration co-ordinator: Anne-lee Murray; Communications Manager: Chris Hewitt.

 

 

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