Boks World Cup squad named

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Kemantha Govender

Durban - John Smit has once again been tasked with leading the Springboks for the Rugby World Cup, which will take place in New Zealand in September.

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) made its squad announcement on Tuesday night and confirmed that 18 members of Springboks' triumphant 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning squad will do battle again.

There is a combination of experience and fresh energy in the 30 players selected, with Smit becoming one of six players who will be appearing at their third World Cup.

There are no uncapped players in the squad and all but three have appeared in this season's Tri-Nations tournament.

The exceptions are looseforwards Schalk Burger and Francois Louw, and lock Johann Muller, who were ruled out by injury at various stages of the competition.

Other 2007 winners, Juan Smith and BJ Botha, were ruled out of selection by injury along with preliminary squad members Andries Bekker and Duane Vermeulen.

"The squad has a backbone of proven title-winning ability and experience as well as a strong component of new stars," said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

"Injury has denied us one or two players who could have been very important to us, but I am very happy with the squad we have picked. We have good coverage for every position and front line players who have shown over the past half dozen seasons that they know how to win big games."

Four overseas-based players in the Ulster duo of Ruan Pienaar and Johann Muller and Racing Metro's Frans Steyn have also been selected. Louw has already moved to Bath in England, from the Stormers, but has yet to play a competition fixture for them.

The squad boasts an average of 40 caps per player, with 10 of them having made more than a half century of Test appearances, while Pienaar is one short of a half century.

"This squad has the experience and ability to make a strong challenge for the title, but we know it will be very difficult," said De Villiers.

"It has been a tough season to date and we have had some challenges with the amount of rugby the players have had to play, but I'm very happy with the squad. We are on target with the off-field plans we set in place before the season started."

The Springboks depart for New Zealand on September 1 with a public farewell from Sandton Square in Johannesburg.

They play their first World Cup match against Wales on September 11 in Wellington.

Springbok squad:

Forwards (16): Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira (Sharks), Gurthro Steenkamp (Bulls), John Smit (Sharks, capt), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), CJ van der Linde (Lions), Bakkies Botha (Bulls), Victor Matfield (Bulls, vice-capt), Johann Muller (Ulster/NIR), Danie Rossouw (Bulls), Willem Alberts (Sharks), Schalk Burger (Province), Heinrich Br~ssow (Free State Cheetahs), Francois Louw (Bath/ENG), Pierre Spies (Bulls)

Backs (14): Francois Steyn (Racing Metro/FRA), Patrick Lambie (Sharks), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Gio Aplon (Western Province), Jaque Fourie (Province), Jean de Villiers (Province), Juan de Jongh (Province), Bryan Habana (Province), Odwa Ndungane (Sharks), Morne Steyn (Blue Bulls), Butch James (Golden Lions), Fourie du Preez (Bulls), Francois Hougaard (Bulls), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster/NIR).

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