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Saru meets #RWC2015 transformation targets

The Bok World Cup squad features eight players of colour, including the uncapped scrumhalf Rudy Paige.

FILE: The Springboks train at Cape Town Stadium on 1 June 2015. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - South African Rugby Union (Saru) deputy president Mark Alexander says they've met their transformation targets in the naming of the 31-man Springbok World Cup 2015 squad.

The racial make-up of the Springbok team was once again brought into focus recently following the shock defeat to Argentina.

The Bok World Cup squad features eight players of colour, including the uncapped scrumhalf Rudy Paige as well as the experienced Bryan Habana.

Alexander says they're on track.

"We are happy with where we are with our transformation initiative. We signed the agreement with government and South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, the six dimension with performance as one of them, and we checked our perimeter and we are 92 percent on track. We could do better but we are happy where we are right now."

As expected, Jean de Villiers, who is still recovering from the broken jaw he suffered in his side's shock loss to Argentina at the beginning of the month will captain the side.

The squad includes flyhalf Morné Steyn, who last played in the green and gold in September last year.

Other players included who haven't featured much over the past 12 months are Zane Kirchner, Fourie Du Preez and Schalk Britz, while the uncapped Rudy Paige was selected ahead of Cobus Reinach.

Notable omissions include Heinrich Brussouw and Frans Steyn.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says it's unfortunate that he can't take everyone.

"It is not just Frans [Steyn] some guys are not in the team. It's been so close. Unfortunately you have to pick 31 and stick with those guys."

Meanwhile, Springbok captain Jean de Villiers says he welcomes any criticism of the team, even if it comes from former coach Peter de Villiers.

The former coach is a big critic of the current head coach Meyer and his selection policy.

But the Bok captain says the former coach has the right to criticise.

"There will always be critics and I think it's because people care. People want the Springboks to do well and I think if it's coming from the heart, and you really want the Springboks to do well, then I'm open to it."

At the same time, Meyer's wished de Villiers well.

"I'm totally honest in saying I truly respect Peter de Villiers first as a coach, I think he's an awesome coach and a human being. I think he has done a lot of good things for South African Rugby, I think he's been a great diplomatic for South Africa and the big thing is he's made a difference in a lot of people's lives. We need people like that."