South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus has taken his first step towards building a squad for the World Cup later this year by naming a 26-man alignment squad.
This is the bare bones of the squad heading into the Rugby Championship next month, as it does not yet include Bulls or Sharks players, as they are returning from New Zealand and Australia after their Super Rugby quarter-final losses.
However, the squad is still interesting, as it has seen the recall of a number of overseas players such as Cobus Reinach, Marcell Coetzee and longtime exiled 2007 World Cup winner Frans Steyn.
Steyn has been plying his trade with Top 14 outfit Montpellier for the past three-and-a-half years, part of a sizeable South African contingent in the south of France. While Steyn has received a call-up, his teammate Jan Serfontein has not been so lucky, and this has shocked many fans on social media.
The 25-year-old centre has been in wonderful form during the past two years with Montpellier, and many had previously thought that South Africa’s loosening of their selection policy regarding overseas players would have opened the door for the 35-cap international.
However, it is not to be for Serfontein, and while this is not the definitive squad for the World Cup with many to return, it is hard to see where the former Junior Player of the Year will be able to impress Erasmus.
While Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel have been the favourite centre partnership under Erasmus, a lot of fans thought that there was still a place for Serfontein in the squad, particularly with squad rotation being paramount at the World Cup.
This is what they said:
It will be a big mistake to leave Serfontein out of the team. The guy become strong and very decisive especially if the pressure is big.
— Nkosiphi Nyandu (@NkosiphiN) June 23, 2019
How could they leave out Jan Serfontein whose having a storming season for Montpelier?
— Toolman (@PGB2956) June 24, 2019
Where is Jan Serfontein ??
— ??PommieP?? (@pommieP1) June 23, 2019
Yeah Serfontein is a no brainer for me. Willemse has some competition for back up 10/15 in Bosch. And Kolbe for backup 15.
— Sportbilly (@sportbillysays) June 23, 2019
Reckon we’re ok without Bismarck… Would’ve liked to see Serfontein there though
— Werner Hefer (@OvalBrain) June 23, 2019
— Barry Scharneck (@barry_scharneck) June 23, 2019
Jan Serfontein > Frans Steyn
— Kerneels Venter (@KrnlsVntr) June 24, 2019
Sad not to see Jan Serfontein in there. Now we either have to use Frans Steyn who turns like a truck delivering bricks or Andre Esterhuizen who is far inferior. I pray that De Allende will stay fit for the rest of the year, which is probably too much to ask for. https://t.co/oXrcq02Qsy
— ?? (@lfc_Philip) June 23, 2019
Would've loved to see Jan Serfonteins name there as well.
— JJ Maritz (@JJMaritz) June 24, 2019
Looking thin at center. DDA, Am, Kriel and possibly Steyn…but surely Serfontein a must?
Glad to see Coetzee back as well. In 2014 he was possibly our best player (or a marginally close 2nd to Duane) under HM
— Imraan Deaney (@imrnd) June 23, 2019
The fans seem particularly surprised that the 32-year-old Steyn has been chosen ahead of Serfontein. It may be Steyn’s kicking and ability to play as a back-up fly-half which has earned him his place in the squad, however, the power and attacking threat posed by Serfontein is far greater, and that is why so many fans wanted to see him in a green jersey again.
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