SARugbymag.co.za's panel of experts on who they're pleased to see in the Springbok squad, who was unlucky to miss out, and whether 36 players is too many for a tour with no midweek matches.
OLLIE LE ROUX (former Bok prop)
'The Lions players who have been selected for the first time [hooker Robbie Coetzee, prop Julian Redelinghuys and flank Jaco Kriel] deserve it as they have been performing well all season. It's exciting to see Johan Goosen back in the squad and I'm pleased for Coenie Oosthuizen, who returned from injury during the Currie Cup. Nizaam Carr has also earned his place. I don't think there were any players unlucky to miss out; Heyneke Meyer has selected the right squad. But a squad of 36 is far too big – even 30 is too many.'
CHRIS ROSSOUW (former WP flyhalf and Maties coach)
'It's a good squad and all the guys deserved their call-ups, including newcomers Jaco Kriel, Julian Redelinghuys and Nizaam Carr, who performed very well during the season. I haven't seen much of Johan Goosen [in the Top 14] so I cannot comment on his selection. Some players will be gutted not to have been selected having done well in the Currie Cup, but Heyneke Meyer picked his squad with the World Cup in mind. This tour to Europe is the last chance for the Boks to play in northern hemisphere conditions and you need to be consistent in terms of selection for the team to gel. The squad is too big, but those who don't get game time will still learn from the experience of being with the Boks.'
JIMMY STONEHOUSE (Pumas coach)
'I think Julian Redelinghuys is a welcome face in the national set-up. He's proven himself throughout the year and deserves his spot. Nizaam Carr and Jaco Kriel also couldn't have possibly done more to get the attention of Heyneke Meyer. They have been superb and I'm extremely happy for them. Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe are the two unluckiest players, especially Juan. The reasoning behind their non-selection has obviously been about size, but we've seen Juan upstage centres much bigger than him, while Kolbe is faultless in defence. But everyone has their opinions on certain players, and as coach it's Meyer's right to do what he feels best for the Boks. A squad can never be too big. We don't really know the motive behind the 36-man squad. Maybe Heyneke's planning to play his youngsters during the latter stages of the tour. He'll certainly play the strongest available team against England, but as the tour progresses he'll give the juniors a run.'
ROBBIE KEMPSON (former Bok prop)
'The selectors have rightly rewarded domestic form, and Julian Redelinghuys, Jaco Kriel and Nizaam Carr deserve their call-ups. I'd like to have seen Scarra Ntubeni get another chance with the Boks as he was absolutely outstanding for Western Province and deserved to be in the squad. It's going to be a logistical nightmare to travel with a 36-man squad to Ireland, England, Italy and Wales. Sometimes such a big squad can distract the actual Test squad. I don't understand why they've picked two full teams, when in reality only 26 to 28 of those players will get game time. I just hope the coach gets a better idea of the combinations he will use at the World Cup next year. The only real test on this tour will come against England and even then the Boks will be too strong if Heyneke persists with his Rugby Championship players. I'm confident that they will return home with four victories.'
Photo: Gallo Images