South Africa

Bok door not closed for 'outsiders'

Sun, 01 Jun 2014 19:33
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One or two rookies on debut
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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said there will always be those unlucky not to make the national team, but said the door remains open for 'outsiders'.

At the weekend Meyer named a 36-man squad that features seven uncapped players, for the June internationals - which starts this coming Saturday against  Nick Mallett-coached World XV.

That is followed by two Tests against Wales and a one-off international against Scotland.

The newcomers are Damian de Allende, Lodewyk de Jager, Cornal Hendricks, Teboho Mohoje, Sibusiso Sithole, Marcel van der Merwe and Callie Visagie.

Apart from the injury enforced absentees, there are a host of players who could count themselves in the 'unlucky to miss out' category.

The most notable omissions include regular Bok captain Jean de Villiers (knee injury), Eben Etzebeth (foot injury), Adriaan Strauss (suspended), Jaque Fourie (ankle injury), Pat Lambie (bicep injury), Frans Malherbe (concussion), Siyabonga Ntubeni (foot injury), Chiliboy Ralepelle (knee injury), Frik Kirsten (neck injury), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee injury), Franco van der Merwe (ankle injury) and Arno Botha (knee injury).

Juan Smith, who was also in the selection frame, has been struggling with an injury in recent weeks and requested the national selectors not to be considered.

Top of the list of players who were available but missed out include inform stars Heinrich Brüssow, Marnitz Boshoff, Julian Redelinghuys, Jaco Kriel, Nizaam Carr, Rory Kockott and Cobus Reinach.

Meyer, speaking at a media briefing at the team's base in Cape Town, said is always tough to make selections.

"It is sometimes unfair on me to have to make such harsh decisions," the Bok mentor said, adding: "You are carrying the hopes of not just the country, but also those individuals.

"It is always tough and even though we have a bigger squad, to get to those 36 [names] is very, very tough ... especially with injuries as well.

"There will always be those unlucky [not to have made the squad]."

The Bok mentor made it clear those in the fringes know they can be called up any time.

"The great thing is that those guys who were with us at last week's training camp [in Durban] know they are very close [to making the team].

"There is not a lot to choose between the top 40 players in South Africa and they know they have a chance," the Bok coach said, adding that he had to run the gauntlet at the airport, where people wanted to know why he didn't you include this play or that player.

"They know exactly where they stand and they have a good chance to get into the squad," he said, adding that he is very happy with the squad that is assembled in Cape Town ahead of Saturday's season opener against he World XV.

"These are guys who performed throughout the year and also players who performed in he past. One thing you don't want to do, in the year just before the World Cup, is change your squad every time.

"I don't think it send out the right message to the players."

Meyer admitted one or two of the uncapped players will definitely make their debuts.

"You don't want to throw guys in the deep end," he said, adding: "[They will play] mostly from the bench, but there is a chance one or two will start. Preferably I will play them from the bench.

"There are a lot of calls and moves and I could see last week it was difficult for a lot of those guys who were with the team for only two days.

"I don't like just giving away caps, but there will be one or two new caps.

"All of these guys are good enough and I wouldn't have picked them if I didn't believe in them. It is an amazing opportunity for some of the new players to get involved in, and get used to, the Bok culture."

Meyer did not divulge any information on the injured players in the squad, such as utility back Frans Steyn.

"The medical team will screen all the players,"he said.

"There are one or two other players that got injured at the weekend.

"We will only know the extent of the injuries once the medical team has gone through the players - so I am not sure what is he extent of [the injuries of] most of the players."

By Jan de Koning

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