The South African squad:
Quinton De Villiers
Pierre van Wyk
|Group 3 news
The ever increasing profile of rugby league in South Africa can be gauged from the holding of the first ever Test Match to be held between Wales and the Rhinos at the Loftus Versfield Stadium in Pretoria on Thursday 19 October.
It says much for the support now gathering around the 13 a side code, that such a prestigious match and warm up for the World Cup at the home of rugby union can take place. And in response to that support, former St Helens assistant coach Mike McClennan has been called into act as technical advisor to the squad.
Working alongside his fellow countryman, former Kiwi forward Paul Matete, McClennan is confident that his charges will improve considerably on their performances in the 1995 World Cup. With Halifax Blue Sox Jamie Bloem as captain and with Salford City Reds' Mark Johnson in the line up beside Sean Rutgerson it is unlikely that the Rhinos will lose all three matches in the group this time around.
South Africa include five Currie Cup rugby union players in their squad and will field a mixture of experience and youth. For the first time in the Rhinos' short history, they will field a team packed with League experience and with the inspirational McClennan behind them, might just achieve a quarter final place and have one tilt at one of the 'big guns' in the tournament.