Gio Aplon – For his ability to spark something and the pace that he injects into the backline
Patrick Lambie – I’ll prefer Lambie on flyhalf but want Goossen back in the environment. Lambie showed again in the CC final that he is the best runner-up in the flyhalf berth and there is enough other cover for fullback in players like Willie le Roux and JP Pietersen if Lambie was to be selected to play in the No10 jumper.
Bryan Habana – For his experience and all round workrate
JP Pietersen – For his pace, defence and ability to manufacture tries
Willie le Roux – For his x-factor ability to constantly keep the defence guessing and his back-up as fullback
Bjorn Basson – Nobody else that put his hand up
Jacque Fourie – Defence in this position was a major weakness this year; Jacque will sort that
JJ Engelbrecht – He’ll do well as impact player either on the wing or as outside centre
Jean de Villiers- He was inspirational this year and he is growing as a leader
Frans Steyn – For his defensive and distribution abilities and the fact that he has played in Europe/France for a couple of years
Note: Jan Serfontein might be added here because players like Frans Steyn, Gio Aplon ad Willie le Roux has utility qualities making it unnecessary to select a utility back. Serfontein is a youngster and personally I feel he was pulled into the Springbok environment to soon. However, I will not select someone like the Freestate’s Ebersohn (which I personally like a lot as player) into the team if he is not seen as longtime propect. Serfontein clearly has ability and just need to mature.
Morné Steyn – Was the best in this position this year by far even though he is suspect on defence. That’s why I want Frans Steyn on his outside
Johan Goossen – I am not sure that he has played enough rugby this year to warrant a place above Lambie but I want him back in the environment.
Fourie du Preez – For obvious reasons still the best we have in this position
Ruan Pienaar – Because he knows the European conditions so well
Kobus Reinach – He lacks experience but has something that is non-negotiable on this level namely natural speed and a feel for opportunity
Duane Vermeulen – Was the best in this position this year in SA
Willem Alberts – He can cover No8 and the lock positions as well
Francois Louw – Our best performing flank at test level the last two seasons
Siya Kolisi – Have not played a bad game for the Springboks yet
Arno Botha – If he has recovered he should be considered otherwise Marcel Coetzee
Eben Etzebeth – Only class act we’ve got in this position at the moment
Pieter-Steph du Toit – showed in the CC-final he is ready for test rugby
Bakkies Botha – Bakkies on crutches is better than Jaundre Kruger or Flip van der Merwe
Note: Willem Alberts can cover on lock as well. So I’ve got only three locks in my team. The EOYT is normally seen as an opportunity to award CC performers and to develop talent so one of the wings like Basson or Habana might be given a rest (opening a spot in the squad) in favour of giving Juandre Kruger more development opportunity. Kruger however was so poor during the Ellispark test against the All Blacks that I think we need to look at some other options like moving Alberts to the lock position when the subs come on.
Pat Cilliers- It’s time to move beyond Guthro Steenkamps and CJ van der Linde
Tendai Mtawarira – has shown that he can handle the pressure of international rugby
Lourens Adriaanse or Frans Malherbe – We are in serious need at tighthead and it might be time to give one of these guys a chance.
Coenie Oosthuizen – time to see if Coenie can make it as a tighthead
Note: Jannie du Plessis needs a break.
Adrian Strauss – No remarks needed
Bismarck du Plessis – No remarks needed