Provincialism and politics once again spoil the Boks
Many had high hopes for the Springboks this year. I admit, I was one of them. There was always a sneaking suspicion however, that Heyneke Meyer would favour his old Bulls players, despite form or proven ability on the international stage.
The Bulls played the Stormers in the early hours of the morning in an epic struggle where all guns blazing, all out attack was stunted by once again impeccable defence by the injury ravaged Stormers.
With little ball the Stormers had, Siya Kolisi – a constant and fantastic performer all year – absolutely ripped the Bulls apart with his hulking runs and driving back tackles, eventually leading to him setting up a superb try for Habana by slicing through Bjorn Basson and JJ Engelbrecht’s lame defence – both of whom are apparently deserving of the higher honors. Kolisi was man of the match.
All this unfolding just moments before the Squad Springbok announcement. Kolisi did not make the squad. Neither did Heinrich Brussow. Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the dawn of the Blue Boks.
There is apparently no place for players who have been on fire all season – Joe Pietersen and Aplon are ranked behind the predictable Kirchner. Wynand Olivier is preferred ahead of the promising Juan de Jongh. Olivier has had 34 Test matches.
He has scored one try in his international career. It was against Italy. He is a constant failure on the international scene, yet Meyer will persist.
The Stormers currently sit at the top of the South African conference, beating the Bulls both home and away. There are 3 Stormers in the 32 man squad compared to the 13 of the Bulls.
There are also bizarre choices in Ryan Kankowski making the cut despite only recently coming back from injury and not playing more than 20 minutes of rugby this year and seemingly being out of favour with the Boks.
Sadly, we are being robbed of watching true, world-class players like Brussow instead we have Pierre Spies thrown at our faces, a player who’s only amazing ability is to turn invisible.
If it isn’t politics, it’s provincialism.
Springbok squad: Willem Alberts, Bjorn Basson, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, JJ Engelbrecht, Eben Etzebeth, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Ryan Kankowski, Zane Kirchner, Juandré Kruger, Werner Kruger, Patrick Lambie, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo, Wynand Olivier, Coenie Oosthuizen, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Jacques Potgieter, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Pierre Spies, Frans Steyn, Morné Steyn, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Franco van der Merwe, Jano Vermaak.