Springbok coach Peter de Villiers today named a 28 man squad to face the British & Irish Lions in the three-test Castle Series
The announcement was made live on SABC and the excitement sent the SA Rugby and SuperSport websites crashing because of the widespread interest.
There is only one newcomer to the Springboks squad, Bulls outside half Morne Steyn. He ended the Super 14 tournament as the leading points scorer and was one of the main reasons why the Bulls took the title for the second time in three seasons. He joins Golden Lions outside half Earl Rose as the only uncapped players in the squad.
World Cup winning skipper John Smit will lead the squad. He will cover both hooker and tight head prop.
De Villiers hasn’t selected a recognized full back in his squad, although he does have a number of players who have worn the No 15 jersey before. Francosis Steyn and JP Pietersen are among the candidates for that role.
“As the squad was being announced live on television I was just glad that those players are on my side,” said Smit.
“There is only one new cap, and he is there because he has had such an amazing season. There has been great continuity in selection for the Springboks over the last three or four years and we are in the fortunate position where the players who have played for South Africa have kept working hard to stay in the team.
“It is a massive asset having so much experience and so many leaders around me. The trick is to blend that experience with the talent – we have to earn the victory rather than expect it.”
John Smit – Sharks (81 caps) Captain
Victor Matfield – Blue Bulls (80) Vice-Captain
Andries Bekker – Western Province (13)
Bakkies Botha – Blue Bulls (55)
Schalk Burger – Western Province (49)
Deon Carstens – Sharks (7)
Bismarck du Plessis – Sharks (21)
Ryan Kankowski – Sharks (7)
Tendai Mtawarira – Sharks (10)
Chiliboy Ralepelle – Blue Bulls (3)
Danie Rossouw – Blue Bulls (36)
Juan Smith – Cheetahs (54)
Pierre Spies – Blue Bulls (19)
Gurthrö Steenkamp – Blue Bulls (20)
Jean de Villiers – Western Province (46)
Fourie du Preez – Blue Bulls (43)
Jaque Fourie – Lions (42)
Bryan Habana – Blue Bulls (46)
Adi Jacobs – Sharks (21)
Ricky Januarie – Western Province (34)
Odwa Ndungane – Sharks (3)
Jongi Nokwe – Cheetahs (3)
Wynand Olivier – Blue Bulls (21)
Ruan Pienaar – Sharks (27)
JP Pietersen – Sharks (24)
Earl Rose – Lions (uncapped)
Frans Steyn – Sharks (27)
Morné Steyn – Blue Bulls (uncapped)