Heyneke Meyer named his 32-man squad for South Africa’s year-end tour and as always there is plenty to debate.
Jan de Koning, Rugby365
Thoroughly deserved. he has always been class and has regained his best form.
Stamped his authority on the Currie Cup Final, although some other selections suggested the Final was not factored in.
Good to see John Philip back. He can teach the youngsters a few tricks of the trade.
May have had a mid-season slump, but was back to his best in the Currie Cup Final and deserves to be there.
Jean de Villiers (captain):
First choice for any Bok team. Hope he can stay injury free through to 2015. A class player and a very good leader.
Bismarck du Plessis:
Without doubt SA’s best hooker and going to be invaluable on tour.
Jannie du Plessis:
He may be in need of a rest, but still a quality player. His selection can never be questioned.
Fourie du Preez:
The master tactician and the missing link in the Bok team since 2011 – as his games in SA earlier this year showed.
Pieter-Steph du Toit:
Young and raw, but oozes potential. Three weeks with Bakkies Botha will do his game the world of good.
His game is in need of a fresh injection and maybe he can learn a few things from Jaque Fourie that will see him regain the spark that first secured him a call-up.
Just imagine him and Bakkies Botha in the same team (not sure who will play at No.5), but you have to pity the opposition.
Another player that will be welcomed back with open arms after a two-year absence. Boks’ defence will be rock solid and he will be a great tutor for the young backline players in the side.
This could be a big mistake – much like Jake White did with Ashwin Willemse in 2004, by bringing him back too soon. Willemse broke down and was never the same again. This young man oozes talent, but needs to regain his fitness – given that he has played only about 60 minutes since a sixth-month lay-off.
Like Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie, he is just pure class.
After his shocker in the last Test against New Zealand he can regard himself as very fortunate to still be part of the squad. In fact his form for the last two years screams for him to be axed.
He is growing into a world class player and it would be interesting to see how he copes with the slow pitches of the Northern Hemisphere.
Good to see him regain his form at flyhalf for the Sharks. Just hope he is now given an extended run in the No.10 jersey. Playing him at fullback on tour will be a mistake.
Willie le Roux:
While the conditions up north may not always suit his style, he should be a starter in the Bok team as he will keep the opposition on their toes.
He will be on familiar turf and a key member of the Bok team.
Heyneke Meyer clearly rates him, but I am not convinced. Would rather persist with Coenie Oosthuizen’s conversion to a No.3 – where he wants to play.
He may also be in need of a rest, but has shown good form in recent weeks and his selection can never be questioned.
This, to me, is the big bolter and makes no sense. Is he really better than Chiliboy Ralepelle (who was part of the squad) and Schalk Brits (a star in the north)? Is he really the future? Good domestic form, but looked ordinary when he faced a real international hooker in a crunch match – the Currie Cup Final. Core skills also not very good.
He is another player who needs to settle down in one position. Shifting from loosehead to tighthead and back is not doing his form any favours.
He has been good in Northern Hemisphere conditions, so this tour may be where he silences his critics. However, still lucky to still be part of the Bok squad.
Good to see him back. With him, Habana, De Villiers and Fourie the Boks will have a quality backline.
The other big bolter. He’s been so-so in the Currie Cup all season (still don’t know what the hype is about), but obviously Heyneke Meyer sees something in him that I don’t. No scrumhalf should ever run/drift sideways and backwards to pass, no matter how your pack struggles.
He obviously has talent, but needs guidance. Can do himself a big favour by spending plenty of time with Jaque Fourie.
Another player who can regard himself as fortunate to be on tour, given his form in recent matches for his country.
His form this year justifies his selection, but this tour may be a good opportunity to see how some of the younger flyhalves cope with the testing conditions they will experience.
No question that he is a close second to Bismarck fu Plessis and some distance ahead of whomever is third. And in my view it is not Ntubeni.
Flip van der Merwe:
Given the talent of the youngsters coming through he may have to improve his game considerably or will be a spectator before too long.
Pure class and a must for every Bok team.