Heyneke Meyer has explained why Coenie Oosthuizen, Siya Kolisi and Johan Goosen were not selected for the Springbok squad.
The trio were overlooked for the Rugby Championship, with the Bok coach opting for Oupa Mohoje, Frans Malherbe and Handré Pollard instead.
'Drop is a harsh word,' said Meyer when asked about the three omitted players. 'You have to pick 30 players and there is nothing separating those players. Those are all players who will never let the squad down.'
Oosthuizen struggled at tighthead prop in Super Rugby and had a poor final outing against the Lions at Ellis Park.
'I still believe Coenie is a great player,' said Meyer. 'Outside scrummaging he is probably the best around. He's been struggling with his neck for quite some time. He knows where he stands. I believe he will come back into the squad. We can only pick five props.'
Kolisi also failed to impress in Super Rugby and has fallen behind in the Bok pecking order as a result.
'Siya has to focus on openside because Marcell [Coetzee] has done well there and Oupa has come through as a blindside,' said Meyer. 'At openside there is a lot of competition with Flo [Francois Louw] and Marcell both superb.'
Goosen has signed for Racing Métro, after blowing hot and cold for the Cheetahs this season, and his move to France appears to have counted against him.
'Goosen is a quality player,' said Meyer. 'If he wasn't injured [so often] he could play 100 Test matches. He is one of the best I have ever coached. Unfortunately he's been injured and with Pollard coming through there are only so many overseas players you can pick.'
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