Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber went with the tried and tested, and rewarded a number of uncapped players when they named the Springbok squad for the upcoming Tests against Georgia and the British and Irish Lions.
CAPE TOWN – There weren’t many surprises when SA Rugby president Mark Alexander named the 46-man Springbok squad for the Tests against Georgia and the British & Irish Lions Series on Saturday evening, with all but one of the active 2019 World Cup-winning players included, along with a good springling of form rising stars.
The retired trio of Tendai Mtawarira, Francois Louw and Schalk Brits and the injured Warrick Gelant are the only names missing from the squad that lifted the Webb Ellis cup in Japan on November 2 – the last time the Boks played an international game – while eight uncapped players were included.
Joseph Dweba, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Jasper Wiese, Sanele Nohamba, Wandisile Simelane, Yaw Penxe, Rosko Specman and Aphelele Fassi are the newcomers rewarded with a chance to make their Test debuts.
The injured second-row duo of Lood de Jager and RG Snyman are also in the mix. Both are on target to be fit for the Series.
The Springboks will face Georgia on 2 and 9 July in what will be Jacques Nienaber’s first task as Springbok coach. Following those fixtures, the Boks will take on the British & Irish Lions in three much-anticipated Tests on 24 and 31 July and 7 August.
The South Africa “A” team, which will comprise of players from this squad, will also meet the Lions on Wednesday, 14 July.
The Series will also mark a major milestone for Morné and Frans Steyn, as both backs will play in their second Lions Series and become two of the few players to face the touring side twice.
In 2009, Morné kicked the 52-metre penalty that clinched the series win in 2009. It will also be a special occasion for top-performing No.8 Duane Vermeulen, who was a member of the Emerging Springbok team during that season, when Peter de Villiers’ Boks celebrated the Series win.
Seven players in the squad boast 50 or more Test caps, with Eben Etzebeth leading the pack with an 85 Caps, while Morné Steyn – who last featured in the green and gold in 2016 – headlines a list of 10 players who will make a welcome return to the Springbok squad.
The team will kick off their preparations on Monday with a three-week conditioning camp in Bloemfontein. The locally-based players will assemble at their base on Sunday, with the overseas-based players joining in clusters according to their club commitments.
The squad will be reduced following the match between the South Africa ‘A’ team and British & Irish Lions.
Thomas du Toit (Sharks, 12 caps, 0 pts)
Steven Kitshoff (Stormers, 47 caps, 5 pts)
Vincent Koch (Saracens, 21 caps, 0 pts)
Frans Malherbe (Stormers, 38 caps, 5 pts)
Ox Nché (Sharks, 1 cap, 0 pts)
Trevor Nyakane (Bulls, 42 caps, 5 pts)
Coenie Oosthuizen (Sale Sharks, 30 caps, 20 pts)
Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux-Bègles, uncapped)
Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears, 33 caps, 25 pts)
Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers, 36 caps, 35 pts)
Scarra Ntubeni (Stormers, 1 cap, 0 pts)
Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks, 45 caps, 25 pts)
Eben Etzebeth (Toulon, 85 caps, 15 pts)
Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (Montpellier, uncapped)
Franco Mostert (Honda Heat, 39 caps, 5 pts)
Marvin Orie (Stormers, 3 caps, 0 pts)
RG Snyman (Munster, 23 caps, 5 pts)
Dan du Preez (Sale Sharks, 4 caps, 0 pts)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers, 55 caps, 25 pts)
Siya Kolisi (Sharks, 50 caps, 30 pts)
Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo, 6 caps, 0 pts)
Marco van Staden (Bulls, 3 caps, 0 pts)
Duane Vermeulen (Bulls, 54 caps, 15 pts)
Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks, 13 caps, 10 pts)
Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, 2 caps, 0 pts)
Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, 30 caps, 20 pts)
Herschel Jantjies (Stormers, 10 caps, 20 pts)
Sanele Nohamba (Sharks, uncapped)
Cobus Reinach (Montpellier, 14 caps, 30 pts)
Elton Jantjies (Pau, 37 caps, 281 pts)
Handré Pollard (Montpellier, 48 caps 457 pts)
Morné Steyn (Bulls, 66 caps, 736 pts)
Lukhanyo Am (Sharks, 15 caps, 15 pts)
Damian de Allende (Munster, 47 caps, 30 pts)
Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles, 46 caps, 60 pts)
Wandisile Simelane (Lions, uncapped)
Frans Steyn (Cheetahs, 67 caps, 141 pts)
Aphelele Fassi (Sharks, uncapped)
Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, 14 caps, 40 pts)
Willie le Roux (Verblitz, 61 caps, 60 pts)
Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks, 14 caps, 70 pts)
Sbu Nkosi (Sharks, 11 caps, 40 pts)
Yaw Penxe (Sharks, uncapped)
Rosko Specman (Cheetahs, uncapped)
Damian Willemse (Stormers, 6 caps, 5 pts)