South Africa entered the 2011 tri-nations not having done particularly well during the S15. The Stormers was eliminated in the semi-finals by the Crusaders while the Bulls who played better towards the end of the tour didn’t reach the semi-finals due to a slow start.
It was a S15 and tri-nations which saw a lot of debate about the impact of the new rule interpretation at the breakdown. General consensus was that the typical South African style of playing a structured game with the pack and the halfback dictating proceedings were not suited for the new faster game which resulted from the change in rule interpretation at the breakdown.
It was also world Cup year and Springbok coach followed the Jake White script of 2007 and selected essentially a B-team for the way leg of the 2011 tri-nations. The reason given was that 21 of the top players were injured. Below are some copied and pasted media reports that followed after the announcement of the Springbok squad for the away leg and the home leg.
Springbok squad for the away leg of the 2011 tri-nations
Captain John Smit will lead a squad of 27 players drawn from the Springboks’ preliminary Rugby World Cup squad on the away leg of the Castle Tri-Nations Series, it was announced on Friday.
Smit, the most capped international captain in Test rugby, will win his 103rd cap against Australia in Sydney on July 23. A week later the Springboks play New Zealand in Wellington.
The squad features youth and experience, as well as recognising Vodacom Super Rugby form. There are five Rugby World Cup winners in the squad as well as six uncapped players in flyhalf Elton Jantjies, scrumhalf 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, which identified that a number of players were carrying injuries and required immediate rehabilitation to avoid the risk of break down before the end of the international year.
The tour squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon and leave for Australia on July 15.
Castle Tri-Nations tour squad:
Gio Aplon – DHL Western Province
Bjorn Basson – Vodacom Blue Bulls
Juan de Jongh – DHL Western Province
Adrian Jacobs – The Sharks
Elton Jantjies – MTN Lions
Patrick Lambie – The Sharks
Charl McLeod – The Sharks
Lwazi Mvovo – The Sharks
Odwa Ndungane – The Sharks
Wynand Olivier – Vodacom Blue Bulls
Ruan Pienaar – Ulster
Morne Steyn – Vodacom Blue Bulls
Heinrich Brüssow – Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Jean Deysel – The Sharks
Dean Greyling – Vodacom Blue Bulls
Alistair Hargreaves – The Sharks
Ryan Kankowski – The Sharks
Werner Kruger – Vodacom Blue Bulls
Ashley Johnson – Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Johann Muller – Ulster
Coenie Oosthuizen – Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Chiliboy Ralepelle – Vodacom Blue Bulls
Danie Rossouw – Vodacom Blue Bulls
John Smit (captain) – The Sharks
Deon Stegmann – Vodacom Blue Bulls
Adriaan Strauss – Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Flip van der Merwe – Vodacom Blue Bulls
Three new Caps selected for the tri-nations opener
South Africa, who travelled to Australia without 21 Test regulars, have included three uncapped players in their team for Saturday’s Tri-Nations opener against the Wallabies.
The Springboks will award Test debuts to props Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger as well as number eight Ashley Johnson on Saturday at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.
While both sides will hope to avoid injuries on Saturday, they also recognise the importance of building momentum ahead of the September 9 to October 23 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
“The new caps had outstanding Super rugby seasons and this is an exciting opportunity for them,” coach Peter de Villiers said in a news release.
“We have got some new combinations, but there is a lot of potential in this side and the players are hungry for this chance.”
Captain John Smit will win his 103rd cap at hooker alongside four other members of the squad that won the last World Cup – centre Wynand Olivier, scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, flank Danie Rossouw and lock Johan Muller.
Morne Steyn has been selected at flyhalf in preference to young gun Patrick Lambie, who starts on the bench, while the Wallabies will have to be on the alert for flying wingers Bjorn Basson and Lwazi Mvovo. Openside flank Heinrich Brussow was unavailable because of a knee injury but he is at least part of the travelling squad.
Key players like scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, centres Jaque Fourie and Jean de Villiers, flank Juan Smith, locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha, and props Gurthro Steenkamp and Tendai Mtawariria all missed the tour through injury.
“Those guys back home would love to be here and if these guys do well, it will put more pressure on them,” De Villiers told a news conference.
Springboks: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Patrick Lambie.
Wallabies: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Nathan Sharpe, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Anthony Fainga’a
Springbok squad for the home leg of the tri-nations
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers on Friday named a 24-man squad featuring several players returning from injury rehabilitation for the home leg of the Tri-Nations series.
Miraculously almost the entire “21 injured” players have regained fitness for the home leg of the TriNations which allows De Villiers to contest the rest of the TriNations at near full strength.
The suprise omission from the squad is that of Sharks back Patrick Lambie who started at flyhalf against the All Blacks last weekend.
Six players remain on the injured list and unavailable for selection, although three of them will join the squad in Durban to continue their rehabilitation.
The Springboks play Australia at Kings Park on August 13 before meeting New Zealand at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth a week later.
Nine of the players who appeared in the away leg of the Series have been retained, led by captain John Smit.
“We still have a number of injury concerns but the majority of the players who were in rehabilitation have recovered well and are now available for selection,” said De Villiers.
Schalk Burger (hand), Juan Smith (Achilles) and Willem Alberts (shoulder) will be part of the squad but are not fit enough to be in contention for the match against Australia, said De Villiers.
A fourth loose forward – Heinrich Brussow – would be assessed with a view to joining the squad, following his planned appearance for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in the Absa Currie Cup on Saturday.
Lock forward Johann Muller remains on the injured list and with Andries Bekker ruled out of the Rugby World Cup tournament, Test newcomer Gerhard Mostert is named in the squad. The 26-year-old made his Test debut against New Zealand last weekend.
“It’s very satisfying to see that Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha have now largely overcome their injuries but they still require management as we have a shortage of fit locks at the moment,” said de Villiers.
“We also have injury problems among the looseforwards but I am hopeful that all of the four who are not currently in the playing squad will be ready for selection by the time of the World Cup.”
Springbok Squad for Tests versus Australia and New Zealand
Gio Aplon ,Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie,Juan de Jongh ,Jean de Villiers, Morne Steyn, Butch James, Ruan Pienaar,Fourie du Preez, Francois Hougaard
Pierre Spies, Jean Deysel, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Gerhard Mostert, John Smit (captain), Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira,Jannie du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp CJ van der Linde
Players not considered for selection due to injury were: Schalk Burger (hand), Juan Smith (Achilles), Andries Bekker (ankle), Willem Alberts (shoulder), Johann Muller (hamstring) and Duane Vermeulen (knee).