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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Skinstad makes SA World Cup squad
Bobby Skinstad
Skinstad combined social rugby with a media career before this year
Bobby Skinstad has capped his surprise return to Test rugby with inclusion in South Africa's World Cup squad.

The celebrated number eight made his comeback this year after four years in semi-retirement in England.

He suffered a broken rib in the recent Tri-Nations match against Australia but has been included along with fly-half Andre Pretorius (muscle strain).

Coach Jake White preferred JP Pietersen to wing Waylon Murray and flanker Wikus van Heerden over Pedrie Wannenburg.

White also decided to take a third scrum-half - Ruan Pienaar - rather than a third hooker, opting for a blend of 14 backs and 16 forwards.

I have great confidence in these players

Boks coach Jake White
Captain John Smit and Gary Botha are the only hookers in the squad, while veteran prop Os du Randt is the only survivor of the victorious 1995 team.

Skinstad, who led the Springboks at the 1999 World Cup but missed the 2003 tournament with a broken arm, left South Africa in 2003 and had a short spell with the Newport Gwent Dragons in Wales.

He then fronted a consortium of businessmen trying to take control of an English club in London, playing only part-time rugby with Richmond in London's South-East Division One alongside work as a television analyst.

But the 31-year-old was lured back to South Africa by White during last year's Springboks tour of Ireland and England, and returned to action with the Coastal Sharks in this season's Super 14 tournament.

White is likely to face criticism at home for selecting just six non-white players - Ashwin Willemse, Bryan Habana, Akona Ndungane, Pietersen, Ricky Januarie and Gurthro Steenkamp - in his squad, the same number as in 2003 and far below the number desired by the country's politicians.

But he has received the backing of SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins.

"We don't expect any political interference, it is the squad that Jake selected and there was none when it was selected," Hoskins said.

"We're hoping that we can all move forward now and support the team."

White said: "It's an exciting mix of players, many of whom have been together since I started my career as head coach of the Springboks.

"I have great confidence in these players. They will carry the flag for the nation during the tournament with pride."

The team is largely made up of the Sharks and Bulls players who contested the Super 14 final this year, the Bulls contributing 11 players and the Sharks 10.

South Africa open their campaign against Samoa on 9 September before their crucial pool fixture against England, before further matches against the United States and Tonga.

South Africa World Cup squad:

Backs: P Montgomery (Sharks), F Steyn (Sharks); B Habana (Bulls), A Ndungane (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), A Willemse (Lions); J de Villiers (Stormers), J Fourie (Lions), W Olivier (Bulls); B James (Sharks), A Pretorius (Lions); F du Preez (Bulls), R Januarie (Lions), R Pienaar (Sharks).

Forwards: BJ Botha (Sharks), O du Randt (Cheetahs), G Steenkamp (Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs); G Botha (Bulls), J Smit (Sharks); B Botha (Bulls), V Matfield (Bulls), J Muller (Sharks), A van den Berg (Sharks); S Burger (Stormers), D Rossouw (Bulls), B Skinstad (Sharks), J Smith (Cheetahs), P Spies (Bulls), W van Heerden (Bulls).

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