‘It’s a fantastic squad’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say about Heyneke Meyer's 31-man World Cup squad.

'It's a fantastic squad, one that most of us expected from Heyneke and the selectors. There's lots of experience and they've given youth a chance in Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel and Rudy Paige.

'There have been some great players left behind, and I've written down a list of them that could represent South Africa. You've got Marcel van der Merwe, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Franco Mostert, Flip van der Merwe, Jaco Kriel, Heinrich Brüssow, Warren Whiteley, Cobus Reinach, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Jan Serfontein, Cornal Hendricks and Ruan Combrinck. So the guys who are going to the World Cup have a huge responsibility on their shoulders to put in a fantastic performance for our country.

'Schalk Brits is an absolutely outstanding rugby player. But with the third-choice hooker, shouldn't we be looking towards 2019? Scarra had really bad luck because injury prevented him from getting an opportunity to show what he can do. It would have been nice to have taken him to this World Cup as the third hooker. That's not to take anything away from Brits, as he is one of the best off-loading forwards in the world. He has brilliant skills and a brilliant side-step.

'I'm a little worried about the guys coming back from injury. How much rugby has Willem Alberts played this year? You've also got Pieter-Steph du Toit and Francois Louw coming back from injury. Frans Malherbe had a bad injury, Coenie Oosthuizen had a neck injury and Duane Vermeulen is coming back from a neck operation. So a number of those forwards are brilliant players, but let's hope those injuries don't curtail their performances at the World Cup.

'I took two different countries, South Africa and Italy, to the World Cup and in both cases I had to speak to the guys who didn't make it and explain that no matter how hard they've worked and well they've played, I had a tough choice to make and had decided to go with someone else. What a player respects more than anything else is honesty, you can't sugarcoat it at all, as it's a bitter pill not to go to the World Cup. I'm absolutely certain that Heyneke and his coaches would have done that with all the players who didn't make it.'

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Post by