On Friday I predicted that up to 18 Springboks that went to France for the 2007 RWC will make the nod again. On the eve of coach Peter de Villiers’ squad announcement here is my prediction of the squad we’ll see fighting to retain the Web Ellis Trophy for the first time in history.
I don’t think Peter de Villiers is going to making any earth shattering announcements tomorrow and there are only a few spaces in the squad open for debate. I think up front with the injury to Andries Bekker we are a bit short on locks. Luckily Danie Rossouw can also cover number 4. A month ago I would’ve said Flip van der Merwe would make the squad but it seems he has lost the confidence of the selectors and he hasn’t done himself any favours getting a red card in the Currie Cup. Alistair Hargreaves might write a good blog but also didn’t impress in Australasia. Expect to rather see new boy Gerhard Mostert in the squad. In the loose forwards, Juan Smith made himself unavailable opening up a spot. Jean Deysel and Ashley Johnson are the real competitors for this spot and on current form both make a good case to be selected. But with murmurings in the media about a “too white” squad I see Ashley Johnson getting the nod for a spot that will probably see him only playing in some of the pool games.
Don’t expect any surprises in the backs, except if Lambie and Frans Steyn don’t get cleared of their injuries. Of the fringe players I think Juan de Jongh, Aplon and Mvovo will get the nod above the Bulls trio of Wynand Olivier, Zane Kirchner and Bjorn Basson.
There are 17 Players that are returning from the 2007 World Cup shown in bold. On Friday I included Wynand Olivier, which on second thought, won’t make the squad again.
Güthro Steenkamp, Beast Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, CJ van der Linde, John Smit (c), Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Victor Matfiled (vc), Bakkies Botha, Gerhard Mostert, Danie Rossouw, Schalk Burger, Heinrich Brüssow, Pierre Spies, Willem Alberts and Ashley Johnson.
Fourie du Preez, Francois Hougaard, Ruan Pienaar, Morné Steyn, Butch James, Patrick Lambie, Jean de Villiers, Jacque Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn, Gio Aplon, Lwazi Mvovo.