Curwin Bosch. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Curwin Bosch. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

The 34-man Springbok squad for the tour to Ireland‚ Europe and Britain is light on specialist inside centres and No8s and heavy on inexperience.

Jan Serfontein’s "request" to be left out of the squad means Damian de Allende travels as the Boks’ only recognised No12.

The only specialist No8 in the group is the inexperienced and uncapped Daniel du Preez even though Toulon’s Duane Vermeulen is fit again after recovering from a long-term groin injury.

Vermeulen‚ 31‚ was on the bench for Toulon last Saturday and while still a little way off being 100% fit‚ would still add value to the touring Bok squad.

With another week of club rugby‚ the 37-Test veteran would be the perfect man to draft in‚ even if it is to play a role off the bench.

But he appears to be out of sight and out of mind.

Francois Louw‚ therefore‚ is set to continue at No8 after playing at the back of the scrum against the All Blacks at Newlands recently.

Flyhalf Curwin Bosch’s selection is a slight surprise, given how porous he has been on defence during the Currie Cup campaign and especially during the final on Saturday.

Bosch was horribly exposed on three occasions and it prompted Sharks coach Robert du Preez to publicly question the flyhalf’s defensive ability.

"We’ve worked really hard with Curwin on his one-on-one defence‚" Du Preez said after the final. "It’s definitely an area of his game that he’s going to have to work hard on‚ especially playing international rugby."

WP flyhalf Rob du Preez has made great strides in 2017 to become the complete package‚ yet was ignored despite three influential games in the last three weeks of the Currie Cup.

At this stage, Du Preez is at the very least‚ a better third-choice flyhalf than Bosch.

But Bok coach Allister Coetzee‚ who‚ in his best years as Stormers coach prioritised defence‚ appears to have changed philosophy.

Wing Raymond Rhule‚ the worst defensive performer in Super Rugby and in the Rugby Championship, has been recalled. Rhule and Bosch are unlikely to feature in the Ireland match, though‚ but it does raise the question then whether they will benefit from being on tour.

A case could be made for the 20-year-old Bosch, but the 24-year-old Rhule does not appear to be the future with the likes of the injured S’bu Nkosi and Jamba Ulengo‚ and the overlooked Travis Ismaiel and Makazole Mapimpi‚ as much more promising long-term bets.

Scrumhalf remains an issue, with Ross Cronjé the best of a generation of honest toilers.

Francois Hougaard appears to be jettisoned for good and Ruan Pienaar was not selected.

The pack, though, does have menace about it and there is depth in almost every position barring No8 and to a lesser extent, hooker.

Wilco Louw has solved the tighthead problem and with Coenie Oosthuizen’s return from a broken arm‚ the Boks are well set. Flank Oupa Mohoje’s recall is reward for some solid Pro14 matches, while Daniel du Preez is similarly rewarded for an excellent Currie Cup.

Loose-forward Jean-Luc du Preez has been ruled out of the tour with a fracture to his ankle sustained during the Currie Cup final. No decision has been made on a replacement, South African Rugby said.


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