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Ulster stars included in Boks' training squad

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has included 21 World Cup winners in his preliminary squad for the upcoming tournament in New Zealand.

Peter de Villiers.
Peter de Villiers.
Image: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

ULSTER TRIO BJ Botha, Johann Muller and Ruan Pienaar have all been included in South Africa’s preliminary World Cup squad, which was announced today.

Coach Peter de Villiers included only four overseas players in total – Racing Metro’s Frans Steyn has also received a call up – and was able to call on no less than 21 former winners of the tournament ahead of South Africa’s title defence in New Zealand.

Lions fly-half Elton Jantjes and flanker Duane Vermuelen, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, are among the new faces looking to impress, with the final 30-man squad to be confirmed on 23 August. The group will once again be led by 2007 captain John Smit and vice-captain Victor Matfield.

“I’m very happy with the squad,” De Villiers said in a SARU statement. “We have got a good blend of youth and experience as well as including some uncapped players who have forced their way into contention for selection with their performances in Super Rugby.

“Our planning is at an advanced stage for the international season and the vast majority of these players have attended one or both of our planning camps. Our Castle Tri-Nations squad will be drawn from this group once we have been able to sort out those players who are carrying injuries at the end of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition.”

South Africa’s training squad in full:

Backs: Gio Aplon, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Ricky Januarie, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Bjorn Basson, Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner, Wynand Olivier, Fourie du Preez, Morne Steyn, Adrian Jacobs, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Butch James, Elton Jantjies, Ruan Pienaar, Francois Steyn.

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Forwards: Willem Alberts, Alistair Hargreaves, Ryan Kankowski, Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, John Smit (capt), Andries Bekker, Schalk Burger, Francois Louw, Duane Vermeulen, Bakkies Botha, Dean Greyling, Werner Kruger, Victor Matfield (vice-capt), Flip van der Merwe, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies, Gurthro Steenkamp, Deon Stegmann, BJ Botha, Johann Muller, Heinrich Brussow, Ashley Johnson, Coenie Oosthuizen, Juan Smith, Adriaan Strauss.

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Louise Murphy

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