Under an air of pageantry on a night that threatened to turn stormy in Durban, 30 Springboks were selected to represent their country in England for the World Cup.

It was a squad of 31, but they are not all Springboks. The biggest surprise was the selection of uncapped Rudy Paige, who was brought in as the third halfback at the expense of Cobus Reinach.

Reinach was not the only loser on the night. Marcell Coetzee can feel very hard done by after he was left out despite his impressive performances for coach Heyneke Meyer, both this year and previously. Siya Kolisi was selected as the additional openside cover, ahead of both Coetzee and Heinrich Brussow.

It is confusing to understand why players such as Coetzee and Reinach were omitted, after playing such big parts in 2015, for two players who have featured for less than 40 minutes between them. Meyer explained his omission of the pair as based on recent injuries. Reinach suffered a fractured hand in Super Rugby and Coetzee picked up a knee injury in the Rugby Championship.


"Marcell is a guy I have always rated highly. Unfortunately, at this stage he is still injured," Meyer told media in Durban.

Meyer went on to describe why he was still happy with his selection of Paige, regardless of never being tested at Springboks level.

"Rudy Paige has played really well in Super Rugby and was ahead of a guy like Francois Hougaard, who I rate really highly as well," Meyer said.

Cobus Reinach missed out too. Photo / Getty Images
Cobus Reinach missed out too. Photo / Getty Images

The reasons Meyer gave for the two omissions seem flawed.

Meyer spoke of Reinach being injured for most of the year as an aggravating factor against his selection but, in the same breath, mentioned Pat Lambie as someone who suffered a similar fate.

He then said Reinach was unable to get much game time due to the pressured situations of some of the tight matches played through 2015 - Paige did not even make it on to the field in a Boks jersey, never mind sitting on the bench.

Meyer's reasoning is far from convincing. His issue with Coetzee being injured is also problematic.

Seven other players were selected who are injured.


Captain Jean de Villiers (fractured jaw), Duane Vermeulen (neck) Jannie du Plessis (knee), Fourie du Preez (knee) Willie le Roux (ankle), Francois Louw (shoulder) and Coenie Oosthuizen are were all named with injuries.

Many will look towards the omissions as selections in favour of quotas but, with nothing official coming out of the Springboks camp, it is hard to say.

Meyer is taking nine non-white players to the World Cup - almost 30 percent.

However, without Paige and Kolisi, a total of seven non-white players would make the figure closer to 20 per cent.

Springboks squad


Willem Alberts, Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Lood de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Victor Matfield, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen.

Backs: Jean de Villiers (c), Damian De Allende, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Jesse Kriel, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Handre Pollard, Morne Steyn.

- The Independent, South Africa