South Africa call up 51 players

by Staff Writer

South Africa have named a 51-man squad for a team planning session ahead of the World Cup and international season.

The squad includes seven uncapped players, of which only three - winger Lionel Mapoe, scrum-half Sarel Pretorius and loose forward Duane Vermeulen - are yet to have any involvement with the Springbok squad.

The other four, fly-half Elton Jantjies, scrum-half Charl McLeod and props Coenie Oosthuizen and Werner Kruger, all featured in Peter de Villiers' squad that toured Great Britain and Ireland last year.

The entire party will attend two days of meetings and logistical discussions in Cape Town next month, in the first of three national camps in preparation for the new season.

"Our first Tri Nations Test kicks off only two weeks after the Super Rugby final," coach De Villiers said.

"I wanted to make sure that we can get straight to work on the field with some quality preparation when we get together and not be compromised by players familiarising themselves with our structures or understanding logistical issues.

"By the end of this series of camps I hope that any of the players we call on will be familiar with our on and off the field systems and the logistical boxes have all been ticked.

"These sessions are not about selection now - they're about being ready when we make the final selections."

Stalwarts such as captain John Smit, his deputy Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger have been included but those based overseas, like Frans Steyn, Butch James and Ruan Pienaar, were excluded.

Chief executive Jurie Rouxsaid: "SARU's priority is first and foremost with Springbok preparations in this Rugby World Cup year and with the support of the provinces, our national teams department has been able to plan three squad get-togethers during Super Rugby.

"There are many demands on the Springboks as well as off-field operational matters to be attended to in a Rugby World Cup year and as part of Peter de Villiers' long-term planning he requested that time be made now so that the team can get straight to on-field work once they gather for the first Tests of the year in July."

The first session will take place on May 1 and 2, while the first Springbok squad of the season will be named on July 2 or 9, depending on South African representation in the Super Rugby final.

Join the discussion