Springboks announce squad for openers
July 8, 2011
John Smit will lead a 27-man squad for their opening Tri-Nations tour of Australia and New Zealand © Getty Images
South Africa have announced a 27-man squad for their opening two Tri-Nations clashes against Australia and New Zealand.
Springboks captain John Smit will lead a new-look group after 21 players were ruled out through injury earlier this week. As a result, a largely untried side is set to tackle the Wallabies in Sydney on July 23 and the All Blacks in Wellington a week later.
There are five Rugby World Cup winners in the squad as well as six uncapped players in fly-half Elton Jantjies, scrum-half Charl McLeod, loose forward Ashley Johnson and props Coenie Oosthuizen, Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling. All but Greyling have appeared in non-cap matches for the Springboks.
"We've rewarded players who have performed outstandingly in Vodacom Super Rugby," said De Villiers, "although the injury situation has also been critical. But there is a backbone of experience and it means that all our leading players will receive Test exposure this year."
The squad was selected following medical assessments in Cape Town this week, which identified that a large number of players were carrying injuries and that according to the South African Rugby Union (SARU), "required immediate rehabilitation to avoid the risk of break down before the end of the international year."
The controversial selection, that has been queried by the Australian Rugby Union, means a host of the Springboks' leading players including vice-captain Victor Matfield, hooker Bismarck du Plessis, fly-half Butch James and winger Bryan Habana will sit out the first two games of the campaign.
Critics have since alleged that it is an attempt by the South African Rugby Union to rest their top talent ahead of the World Cup whilst still fulfilling their obligation to field the strongest possible side in the competition.
The tour squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon and leave for Australia on July 15.
South Africa squad for Tri-Nations tour:
Backs: Gio Aplon, Bjorn Basson, Juan de Jongh, Adrian Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Patrick Lambie, Charl McLeod, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Wynand Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, Morne Steyn
Forwards: Heinrich Brüssow, Jean Deysel, Dean Greyling, Alistair Hargreaves, Ryan Kankowski, Werner Kruger, Ashley Johnson, Johann Muller, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw, John Smit (captain), Deon Stegmann, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe
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