36-Man Springbok Squad for November Tour.
There are no real surprises in the November Tour Springbok squad announced by Rassie Erasmus. The squad includes a trio of uncapped players, and recalls for a couple of others, all pretty much as predicted in the media during the last two weeks.
Erasmus has rewarded form in the Currie Cup season with call-ups for Western Province trio Sergeal Petersen (wing), Ruhan Nel (centre) and JD Schickerling (lock), all three uncapped at the top level of the game.
There is also a recall for both Gio Aplon (outside back) and Louis Schreuder (scrum-half), who captained the Sharks in Saturday’s Currie Cup final.
In all, 10 players who participated in the Currie Cup final left Newlands to catch a flight to the UK to join the Springboks on tour.
Joining the three rookies and Louis Schreuder were Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Damian Willemse (all Western Province) and the Sharks’ Sbu Nkosi and Thomas du Toit.
Trevor Nyakane (prop) and Lood de Jager (lock) are back in the Springbok squad after missing the entire international season to date due to injury, while Duane Vermeulen (loose forward) also returns after missing the Rugby Championship campaign.
All three were part of a preliminary squad of 20 players who attended a week-long training camp in Stellenbosch.
Sergeal Petersen played in a tour match for the Springboks against the Barbarians at Wembley in London in 2016, but is uncapped at Test level. Nel was part of the squad during the latter stages of the Rugby Championship.
The 23-year-old Schickerling, a former SA Under-20 representative, will get his first taste of senior international rugby, although he and Petersen played for the SA ‘A’ side against the touring England Saxons in June 2016.
Aplon and Schreuder
Aplon is playing his rugby in Japan nowadays and has 17 Test caps to his name, the last of which came in 2012. Schreuder has one Test cap and cracked the nod for inclusion in the tour squad following some good performances for the Sharks in the domestic Currie Cup.
The Overall Squad
Rassie Erasmus has named 20 forwards and 16 backs for the month-long tour to England, France, Scotland and Wales.
Missing From The Squad:
A number of players might be considered unlucky not to get a call-up, including the likes of Courtnall Skosan, the Lions’ wing who has been in good try-scoring form since his return from injury. Marco van Staden (Bulls flank) has been left out of the squad after featuring off the bench against both Australia and New Zealand. Akker van der Merwe (Sharks hooker), Coenie Oosthuizen (Sharks prop), the Du Preez twins (Sharks loose-forwards), and perhaps even Robert du Preez (Sharks flyhalf) are all favourites down in Durban who did not get a call. Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf) remains in England. Whilst the exclusion of some of these players might raise an eyebrow or two, in the main Erasmus has rewarded players for their form across the Super and Currie Cup seasons, rather than simply for one or two good games. He has also continued with his focus on building playing units rather than a squad of individuals.
Lionel Mapoe, who was part of the training squad in Stellenbosch, was ruled out of the tour due to injury and joins Tendai Mtawarira, Ross Cronje, Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi, all of whom were part of the Rugby Championship squad, on the sidelines.
The Springboks face England at Twickenham on 3 November, followed by a meeting with the French in Paris one week later on 10 November. Their third Test on Tour is against Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on 17 November, and they wrap up their month-long tour with a visit to the Principality Stadium, where they are due to face Wales on 24 November.
Forwards: Schalk Brits, Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Thomas du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi (c), Francois Louw, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Trevor Nyakane, JD Schickerling, RG Snyman, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley
Backs: Gio Aplon, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, André Esterhuizen, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Wille le Roux, Ruhan Nel, Sbu Nkosi, Embrose Papier, Sergeal Petersen, Handré Pollard, Louis Schreuder, Ivan van Zyl, Damian Willemse