If Rudolf Straeuli can produce game plans remotely as surprising as his selections, the Springboks are definitely going to be crowned world champions in November.

On Monday the under-pressure Springbok coach pulled Western Province utility back Gus Theron and Lions centre Jorrie Muller into a 28-man squad for the away leg of the Tri-Nations.

While those selections are enough to leave one gob-smacked, there were welcome returns for WP scrumhalf Neil de Kock and Sharks hooker Lukas van Biljon as Straeuli added an additional hooker and scrumhalf.

Lions loose forward Joe van Niekerk is also back in the frame.

Sharks outside centre Andre Snyman is the only casualty from the match 22 that did duty in Saturday's humiliating 52-16 defeat to the All Blacks.

Bob Skinstad and John Smit were not considered due to a lack of Test match fitness.

"The decision on Bob and John was made after both players were involved in a practice match last Thursday. It was felt both needed to play more rugby and that their fitness was not at the level we felt necessary for the demands of the Tri-Nations," said Straeuli.

"The same applies to a player like Dries Scholtz. He played in the practise match and we were not convinced about his conditioning. He has been given a personal conditioning programme and he will be monitored in the next few weeks.

"Joe and Andre Pretorius came through the match well. Andre was reintroduced against the All Blacks and we will be looking to give Joe game time against the Wallabies."

Van Biljon also starts again with a clean slate after being involved in a recent bar-room brawl. "Lukas went well in last Thursday's match. I am fully aware of his off the field disciplinary problems. He has been punished for this and gets another opportunity on the evidence of what he can do on the field," said Straeuli.

"Both Robbie Fleck and AJ Venter, players on the fringes of selection, were invited to the match but pulled out because of injury."

Muller's selection was largely down to his versatility, while Theron got the edge over specialist midfielders as he can cover both wing and outside centre.

Although one has to be happy for 28-year-old Theron, who has spent several seasons behind the likes of Pieter Rossouw and Breyton Paulse at WP and the Stormers, the merits of the seletion are questionable as he did not have a good Super 12.

Straeuli, however, made his thinking crystal clear on picking the 'Gas Man'. "Gus has express pace and this does add a dimension to our existing back division," he said.

"With Jaco van der Westhuyzen and Werner Greeff not available because of injury we wanted depth in the fullback position and Jorrie gives us this option. He also has a good left boot, which is something we have not had this season, with all our kickers being right footed."

The Bok coach also gave a strong indication of which players were still in his thinking and those who could secure World Cup squad places with big performances in the Currie Cup.

"The Currie Cup is going to be very important to certain players if they want to make the World Cup squad. We name the World Cup squad in just under six weeks' time. That's plenty of time for players to challenge," said Straeuli.

"It is an opportunity for the likes of Robbie Fleck, Cobus Visagie, AJ Venter and Grant Esterhuizen to show they are over their niggles and injuries and are committed to playing for South Africa at the World Cup.

"It should also see the return of Jean de Villiers, Breyton Paulse, Faan Rautenbach, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Wayne Julies and Werner Greeff. These are all quality players who are on the fringes."

Surprisingly, Straeuli retained two of the worst performances of Saturday's debacle in scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen and right wing Stefan Terblanche. Van der Westhuizen's experience, however, ultimately won through.

"The selectors felt it important that there be a balance between experience and youth and we did not want a repeat of last year's end of season tour when Corne Krige, in his capacity as a senior player, was burdened with all the responsibility on the playing field," said Straeuli.

"It is why Joost's presence was deemed to be important. He is a very good leader and his presence within the squad will ease some of the pressure we know Corne will be under in the next few weeks.

"I want to stress the Tri-Nations is not a dress rehearsal for the World Cup squad. If a player shows us form in the Currie Cup and the necessary commitment, he will be considered for the final World Cup 30."

Springbok squad

Backs: De Wet Barry (WP), Gcobani Bobo (Lions), Craig Davidson (Sharks), Thinus Delport (Falcons), Neil de Kock (WP), Louis Koen (Lions), Jorrie Muller (Lions), Andre Pretorius (Lions), Brent Russell (Sharks), Gus Theron (WP), Stefan Terblanche (Sharks), Joost van der Westhuizen (Bulls), Ashwin Willemse (Lions).

Forwards: Richard Bands (Bulls), Selborne Boome (WP), Bakkies Botha (Bulls), Danie Coetzee (Bulls), Geo Cronje (Bulls), Victor Matfield (Bulls), Robbie Kempson (Ulster/Stormers), Corne Krige (WP, captain), Dale Santon (Eagles), Lawrence Sephaka (Lions), Juan Smith (Cheetahs), Wickus van Heerden (Lions), Lukas van Biljon (Sharks), Joe van Niekerk (Lions) and Pedrie Wannenburg (Bulls).