July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized
With the World cup a mere Month and a few days away , It is rather interesting to have a look at the preliminary WC squads, and wonder, Who won’t be making the ‘ 30′ cut…Here in SA we have bundles of talented players, and even in Europe, there are enough talented South-African Rugby players to put together a strong team.
We’ve seen some very big omissions , Sebastien Chabal obviously the first to come to mind. selecting only 30 players per country will no doubt leave some heart Broken, I have tried to find the best 15 players(one per position) that won’t be going to the World cup. either through injury, being omitted already, or players that I feel will not make the final 30 in their respective countries(in that order) Either Big Names or form players who’ll be left at home.
I appologise if initially this “team” has a South-African feel to it. I am not as informed , when it comes to the Northern Hemisphere countries.(So do feel free to point our any obvious big name omissions, that I have omitted) I will however be updating the team , after the final 30 man squads have been named sometime in August.
1. Coenie Oosthuizen
A prop that has 15 pilfers from 16 games, scores tries, and is a good scrummager? yes, there is no equal to Coenie. He is included in the Tri Nations squad currently in NZ. he is yet to make an appearance, and with Dean Greyling prefered over him, Gurthro Steenkamp (should he be fit) and Beast all ready to wear the Bok number1 jersey, Coenie will have to wait another 4 years, and more importantly, the world will have to wait another 4 years to see this great talent.
2. Schalk Brits
Schalk Brits has been regarded as the best Hooker in the Northern Hemisphere arguably for two seasons now, many now make reference to Brits whenever describing a lively hooker, he has almost become a new generation of Hooker(much like he was when he was still at the Stormers). He has apparently Matured , and has a great rugby brain to go with his all round skills. Saracens coach Brendan Venter has called Brits, the best player he has ever coached. Brits has represented SA in a few tests, but has largely been overlooked, with local talent being deemed good enough.
Honorable mention: Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Polota-Nau is in my opinion, one of the most physical and lively “traditional” hookers I have ever seen, pretty much similar to Bismarck du Plessis, his ball carrying is also scary. he has had a few injuries this season, and therefor, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, has called up, the Reds’ replacement hooker, James Hanson, to cover for Saia Faingaa and Steven Moore. With these two players, getting valuable game time, Polota-Nau , seems to be the one who’ll lose out on a WC spot, depending on how many Hookers the Aussies select.
3. Brian Mujati
He has been called up by many Couch critics to replace Jannie and save the Bok scrum, but whether Eligible or not, he won’t be travelling to the WC. I haven’t seen much of him, but people say he has outscrummed most in Europe. Mujati has become a fan favourite, and would have been a brilliant option to have at the WC.
4. Chris Jack
The All blacks seem to have little need for the services of Jack, He returned to NZ after a short stint at WP, to get his NZ career back on track, he had more than enough time, and he was probably hoping to get back into WC contention, unfortunately for him, Sam Whitelock appeared on the scene, and since then, Jack has been seen on the Crusaders’ bench, he then had to make way for Luke Romano on the bench… Everything may have turned out different were he to sign with any other NZ side, than the Crusaders, as a starting position was then almost a certainty, Jack may be past his prime, but he looked good when he did come on, He is 32, Matfield is 34 and Sharpe 33 , the other two big Southern Hemisphere teams held onto their old stalwards, unfortunately, NZ didn’t.
5. Andries Bekker
The from lock in 2010, and very close to the form lock in 2011 , He has lived in the shadow of Victor Matfield, but would’ve been a sure WC squad member, until he was ruled out by inury.
Regarded as one of the best openside Flankers of his time, Waugh at age 31, is a little unlucky not to be playing some Tri Nations rugby at the moment. The role of the opensider has reduced, or changed, and with the arrival of David Pocock , Waugh has faded from the picture. He is also known for his captaincy skills. Waugh won’t be part of the Wallaby plans for the 2011 WC.
7. Juan Smith
He is currently an uncertainty, Many have questioned the use of Danie Rossouw on the side of the scrum in the Tri Nations 2011, but De Villiers pointed out that if Smith isn’t fit in time, Danie is his second choice blindsider, (I personnally don’t agree with this) the statement does however reveal that there is serious doubt over whether Juan Smith will be fit by the cutoff date. If he does lose out, who’ll wear the SA number 7 jersey is anybody’s guess.
8. Sebastien Chabal
Chabal is world wide known for his cave man look, he is also coincidently a very hard man on the field, very quick for his size, a scary defender and ball carrier. Chabal is a fan favbourite, he has represented France mainly from the bench though, in resent times, covering lock , 8th man and flank, He is said to be one of the most expensive players in Europe. At test level, he has in my opinion never really lived up to the hype(if it was ever possible) he wasn’t really given a starting position consistently enough to make his mark the way he would’ve liked, Some say his exclusion isn’t based on rugby reasons, and that would make sense as Chabal’s explosive play makes him just too valuable to discard.
9. Sarel Pretosius
Sarel scored 9 tries in this year’s Super15, he has been poached by Australian side, the Waratahs in the meantime, (after not being included in South-Africa’s WC plans) Sarel has been very good on attack, and less so on defence. His direct approach has been at the heart of the Cheetahs’ success this year. he was known as Super-Sarel after his explosive season. A player who would add to any WC squad in the world.
10. Matt Giteau
Matt being part of Robbie Deans’ plans is still debatable. but not being included in the Tri Natiosn squad, does say something. With Pat McCabe at 12, Anthony Faingaa as cover, Barnes set to recover…and the luxury of having Kurtley Beal and James O’Connor who can cover FH. Matt Giteau may be another shock exclusion
11. Aurelien Rougerie
The big tall French Winger was ruled out for 3-4 Months with an ankle injury, and won’t be taking part in the World cup. He has 57 caps for France, and scored 110 points.
Honorable mention: David Smith
Smith moved to the Western Force from the Hurricanes, and was arguably the best left winger in the Super15. He has now signed a contract in Europe, and will be plying his trade there come 2012. I do however feel, if it wasn’t for NZ’s tendency to pick fullbacks on the wing, Smith may have been a surprise call-up. Strangely, I see he was born in Samoa, and thus he should be eligible to play for them, I haven’t heard anything, but it won’t be very wise letting this one slip.
Hinorable mention 2: Drew mitchell
Mitchell was probably in the form of his life when he picked up, what first looked like a broken ankle, later reports luckily revealed his ankle wasn’t broken, his recovery and inclusion is still on the cards, if he does get included into the WC squad, it will be without having played a minute in months.
12. Yannick Jauzion
With the French known to blow hot and cold, their “star” Centre has also followed suit. He scored a try in France’s historic WC win over NZ in 2007, he is a very good direct centre. He has been in good form in recent years, although I have no idea on his current form, his 73 national caps worth of experience makes him another strange omission.
13. Stirling Mortlock
Mortlock admittingly not near his best, was a deadly outside centre, age has been his down fall, as he seems to have lost his pace.He joined Melbourne based new comers, the Rebels. and played the biggest part of the season as an inside centre, I know people are probably frowning on his name being mentioned, but…players like Mark Gerrard have recently received a call-up, and the Aussies are struggling with injuries and depth, we saw Asley-Cooper clinging onto his wrist in a very uncomfortable way during Saturday’s Tri Nations test, were this to be a serious injury waiting to be revealed? who’s next in line…Mortlock’s experience makes him a good option, I doubt he’ll get a call anytime soon, but he is a big name that is in relative form, and won’t be making it to the WC.
14. Sitiveni Sivivatu/ Joe Rokocoko
contrary to popular belief The islander wingers have been deemed to have weak ball handling skills, specially areal skills, and NZ now have a preference for their fullback-cum-wingers, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, etc. This has led to the death of the big strong running islander wings, who were all dreaming of being the next Lomu. Sivivatu may still sneak in, but Rokocoko is a certain omission. players like Lelia Masaga have hit a brick wall in their search for test rugby. Hosea Gear(in a league of his own) will be lucky if he does make the final cut.
15. Hugo Southwell
One of Scotland’s star backline players, was ruled out of the WC with a knee injury, although he may be fit come WC time, he and the Scotland management agreed that he won’t be ready to take part in any of their preparations, and therefor won’t be part of their WC plans.
As time runs out on the final cut-off date for the final squads to be announced, we’ll surely see some more big omissions, I’ll update the team, add the new shock exclusions, and remove the ones that got away. please do in form me of any players who you feel should be in their respective countries’ final squads, but probably won’t make the cut.