Eleven players with more than 50 Test caps – two of whom have more than a century to their name – are among the 23 players who have been contracted to the Springboks for the 2011 season, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Wednesday.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers confirmed 13 players who have been added to a list of ten Springboks who were contracted for two years at the beginning of 2010.
Victor Matfield (105) and John Smit (102) are joined by half-centurions Bakkies Botha (72), Juan Smith (69), CJ van der Linde (69), Bryan Habana (68), Jean de Villiers (67), Schalk Burger (63), Jaque Fourie (62), Fourie du Preez (55) and Danie Rossouw (54) are in a group boasting 1,110 caps and 16 Rugby World Cup winners’ medals among the 23.
“We began discussing contracts with a second group of players last year and we obviously believe they have the capability to make the Rugby World Cup squad,” De Villiers told a media briefing in Johannesburg.
“Those contracts have now been finalised but the priority for us is to take the best, in-form players to the tournament and these players are aware that inclusion in this group is no guarantee of a World Cup place for them.”
The group of ten in the second year of their Springbok contract is:
Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Victor Matfield, JP Pietersen, John Smit, Juan Smith and Pierre Spies.
Those who have earned a second year’s contract are:
Andries Bekker, Heinrich Brüssow, Bismarck du Plessis, Adrian Jacobs, Tendai Mtawarira, Wynand Olivier, Danie Rossouw and Morné Steyn.
While the five players added to the contracted group – having not been contracted in 2010 – are: Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Jannie du Plessis, CJ van der Linde and Gurthrö Steenkamp.
De Villiers explained that only South African-based players had been considered for contracts.
“We’re closely monitoring the form of players both at home and abroad and there are already a number who are forcing their way into the reckoning who were not really in the picture 12 months ago,” he said.
“But it’s still four and a half months until we have to name our final Rugby World Cup squad, and a lot can happen in that time.”
Springbok Contracted Players – 2011
|*Bryan Habana||DHL Western Province||Wing||68|
|*JP Pietersen||The Sharks||Wing||36|
|*Jaque Fourie||DHL Western Province||Centre||62|
|*Wynand Olivier||Vodacom Blue Bulls||Centre||31|
|Adrian Jacobs||The Sharks||Centre||32|
|*Jean de Villiers||DHL Western Province||Centre||67|
|Juan de Jongh||DHL Western Province||Centre||6|
|Morné Steyn||Vodacom Blue Bulls||Flyhalf||25|
|*Fourie du Preez||Vodacom Blue Bulls||Scrumhalf||55|
|Pierre Spies||Vodacom Blue Bulls||No 8||40|
|*Juan Smith||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||Flank||69|
|*Schalk Burger||DHL Western Province||Flank||63|
|Heinrich Brüssow||Toyota Free State Cheetahs||Flank||13|
|*Bakkies Botha||Vodacom Blue Bulls||Lock||72|
|*Victor Matfield||Vodacom Blue Bulls||Lock||105|
|Andries Bekker||DHL Western Province||Lock||24|
|*Danie Rossouw||Vodacom Blue Bulls||Lock||54|
|*John Smit||The Sharks||Hooker||102|
|*Bismarck du Plessis||The Sharks||Hooker||36|
|*Gurthrö Steenkamp||Vodacom Blue Bulls||Prop||31|
|Tendai Mtawarira||The Sharks||Prop||26|
|*CJ van der Linde||DHL Western Province||Prop||69|
|*Jannie du Plessis||The Sharks||Prop||24|
* Asterisk denotes Rugby World Cup winner