Springbok Squad For The Final Two Fixtures of RC 2018

Rassie Erasmus has announced his Springbok squad for the final two Rugby Championship fixtures against the Wallabies and the All Blacks. The Springboks face the Wallabies next Saturday, 29 September in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. They then head inland to Pretoria to play the final fixture of the 2018 Rugby Championship against the All Blacks at a sold-out Loftus Versfeld a week later on the 6th October.

Willie le Roux is included in the squad after his English club, Wasps, announced that they would have no objection to his returning to South Africa for the final two fixtures as they both fall within one of World Rugby’s international widow periods.

There are a couple of surprises in the squad as the uncapped Blitzbok star Ruhan Nel, veteran prop Vincent Koch are both included along with the returning Sbu Nkosi, Lionel Mapoe and scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl, while Ross Cronje has been dropped from the squad, while Francois Louw has returned to his English club, Bath, while Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am are out with injuries.

Vincent Koch is playing for Saracens in England and has not played for the Springboks since the 2016 November internationals.

Sbu Nkosi, who was impressive against England in June, has recovered from the ankle injury that stopped him from playing in any Rugby Championship matches so far in 2018.

Ruhan Nel has been in impressive form for Western Province in the Currie Cup and deserves a call-up to bolster the midfield strength of the Springboks. He brings a wealth of Blitzbok experience with him. He adds another dimension to the back division’s resources as he can play in the midfield (his referred position) or on either wing or at fullback.

The new faces will join the 17 players already in camp in Port Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, Trevor Nyakane will also join the squad to continue with his conditioning programme under the supervision of the Springbok conditioning and medical staff over the next two weeks. He is not called up as a player, although this might change.

Rassie Erasmus said he was excited to welcome back players such as Nyakane, Van Zyl, Mapoe and Nkosi, and to work with Nel and Koch.

“Ruhan comes with a lot of international experience with the Blitzboks and he has performed consistently well for WP, so it will be good to see how he operates in the Bok environment,” said Erasmus.

“Trevor and Sbu have been part of the squad earlier in the year and it’s good to welcome them back, while the players who featured for their provinces in recent weeks all got some valuable game time.”

Springbok squad:

Forwards: Schalk Brits, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi (captain), Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Warren Whiteley.

Backs: Faf de Klerk, Aphiwe Dyantyi, André Esterhuizen, Elton Jantjies, Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Lionel Mapoe, Ruhan Nel, Sibusiso Nkosi, Embrose Papier, Handré Pollard, Ivan van Zyl, Damian Willemse.