Isma-eel Dollie, the Western Province Vodacom Cup flyhalf, was one of a few lesser surprises in the Springbok training squad of 42 members that was named on Saturday night.
The new Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers, has included a number of players who are not regulars for their Super 14 franchises or who had limited opportunities because of injury this season. The squad that assembles in Stellenbosch on Wednesday includes Springboks Kabamba Floors, Hilton Lobberts and Chiliboy Ralepelle.
De Villiers emphasised that it was a training squad and not a Test squad.
”I have selected certain players to work with them in a squad environment alongside the country’s finest players, and others because I felt I had not seen enough of them during the Super 14. I want to congratulate all the players who were named, and I look forward to working with them all next week,” he said.
Lobberts, dropped from the Bulls Super 14 squad, has been on the bench for the Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup team in recent matches. He was promoted to the Super 14 bench for the match against the Cheetahs on Saturday when Wikus van Heerden was unavailable because of injury.
Ralepelle has not played any competitive rugby this season other than a warm-up match for the Blue Bulls and was injured in the captain’s run before the Bulls’ first Vodacom Cup match against South Western Districts.
The Bulls’ Heini Adams, one of the most talented scrumhalves in the country, has also not seen action for the past four weeks because of injury.
Earl Rose, flyhalf/fullback of the Lions, is a surprise inclusion. The obviously talented player had an outstanding match against the Stormers on Saturday but had generally been disappointing until he found some semblance of form last week. His teammate Louis Ludik, a fullback and wing, is rewarded for his consistency throughout the past two seasons.
Dollie’s inclusion may come as a surprise to many, but it has been an open secret that the young pivot is highly regarded by De Villiers. He was a stand-out player in the South African Under-21 side but failed to retain his place in the Stormers squad this season.
Three overseas Boks, John Smit (who was on Saturday night confirmed as captain), flyhalf Butch James and fullback Percy Montgomery, have also been invited to the training camp, while Victor Matfield, who is back in the Bulls camp, has also been included.
The names of the Sharks players were withheld as they would be playing in the Super 14 semifinal against the Waratahs in Sydney this weekend. — Sapa
Springbok training squad
Backs: Heini Adams, Gcobani Bobo, Meyer Bosman, Tonderai Chavhanga, Jean de Villiers, Isma-eel Dollie, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Peter Grant, Bryan Habana, Butch James, Enrico Januarie, Conrad Jantjes, Zane Kirchner, Louis Ludik, Percy Montgomery, Akona Ndungane, Jongi Nokwe, Wynand Olivier, Earl Rose.
Forwards: Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Wian du Preez, Kabamba Floors, Hilton Lobberts, Victor Matfield, Gerhard Mostert, Brian Mujati, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw, John Smit (captain), Juan Smith, Pierre Spies, GurthrÃƒÂ¶ Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Heinke van der Merwe, Wikus van Heerden, Joe van Niekerk, Duanne Vermeulen, Luke Watson.