Springbok Squad for Rugby Championships.
Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby and Springbok coach, has announced a squad of 35 players for the upcoming Rugby Championships.
SA Under-20 flyhalf Damian Willemse is one of three uncapped players included in the Springbok squad along with two loose forwards, the Bulls’ Marco van Staden and Cyle Brink of the Lions.
There are recalls for Lions quartet of Malcolm Marx, Warren Whiteley, Ross Cronje, and Lionel Mapoe, who are all back from injury.
The Stormers’ Eben Etzebeth also returns having recovered from a long-term injury.
Others returning to the Springbok squad are Francois Louw, the experienced flank who plays for English club side Bath, and Lwazi Mvovo.
Louw has represented the Boks in 57 Tests and Erasmus said he will add a lot of experience to the group.
“Eben and Warren have been out of the Bok mix for a while because of injury so it’s very pleasing to have them back in the squad, while Malcolm has regained his good form with the Lions since recovering from his injury,” said Erasmus, who added that the participation of Brink and Jean-Luc Preez (loose forward) is dependent on medical examinations.
“We saw the benefit and impact of Willie le Roux and Faf de Klerk in the squad during the June internationals and I want ‘Flo’ to perform a similar role for us.
“It is also pleasing to again add some young players who been showing good form and consistency for their franchise teams during Super Rugby,” Erasmus added, in reference to the uncapped trio of Willemse, Van Staden and Brink.
Siya Kolisi retains the captaincy, while Willie Le Roux and Faf De Klerk are among the 15 backs in the squad.
The bulk of the players have been training in Stellenbosch for a few weeks, with the Lions contingent set to join them on Wednesday.
The squad will continue with preparations in Cape Town until Friday and following a two-day break will then reassemble in Durban next Sunday to continue with their build-up towards the Rugby Championship opener on August 18 against Argentina at Kings Park. The two sides meet again a week later in Mendoza.
Players who were not considered because of injury include Damian de Allende (Stormers), Warrick Gelant, Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane (all Bulls), Coenie Oosthuizen and Sbu Nkosi (both Sharks).
The Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship
(in alphabetical order – name and surname, franchise/club, Test caps and points):
Cyle Brink (Loose forward, Lions, uncapped)
Jean-Luc du Preez (Loose forward, Sharks, 13, 10 – 2t)
Thomas du Toit (Prop, Sharks, 4, 0)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Lock / Loose forward, Stormers, 36, 20 – 4t)
Eben Etzebeth (Lock, Stormers, 67, 15 – 3t)
Steven Kitshoff (Prop, Stormers, 27, 5 – 1t)
Siya Kolisi (captain – Loose forward, Stormers, 31, 20 – 4t)
Francois Louw (Loose forward, Bath, England, 57, 45 – 9t)
Wilco Louw (Prop, Stormers, 7, 0)
Frans Malherbe (Prop, Stormers, 19, 0)
Malcolm Marx (Hooker, Lions, 14, 15 – 3t)
Bongi Mbonambi (Hooker, Stormers, 16, 5 – 1t)
Franco Mostert (Lock, Lions, 21, 5 – 1t)
Tendai Mtawarira (Prop, Sharks, 101, 10 – 2t)
Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Loose forward, Stormers, 4, 0)
Marvin Orie (Lock, Lions, 1, 0)
RG Snyman (Lock, Bulls, 3, 0)
Akker van der Merwe (Hooker, Sharks, 3, 0)
Marco van Staden (Loose forward, Bulls, uncapped)
Warren Whiteley (No 8, Lions, 17, 15 – 3t)
Lukhanyo Am (Centre, Sharks, 3, 0)
Ross Cronjé (Scrumhalf, Lions, 10, 10 – 2t)
Faf de Klerk (Scrumhalf, Sale Sharks, England, 14, 5 – 1t)
Aphiwe Dyantyi (Wing, Lions, 3, 5 – 1t)
André Esterhuizen (Centre, Sharks, 2, 0)
Elton Jantjies (Flyhalf, Lions, 26, 215 – 2t, 41c, 41p)
Jesse Kriel (Centre, Bulls, 32, 45 – 9t)
Willie le Roux (Fullback, Wasps, England, 44, 55 – 11t)
Makazole Mapimpi (Wing, Sharks, 1, 5 – 1t)
Lionel Mapoe (Centre, Lions, 12, 0)
Lwazi Mvovo (Wing, Sharks, 17, 30 – 6t)
Embrose Papier (Scrumhalf, Bulls, 2, 0)
Handré Pollard (Flyhalf, Bulls, 29, 246 – 3t, 42c, 46p, 3d)
Ivan van Zyl (Scrumhalf, Bulls, 3, 0)
Damian Willemse (Flyhalf, Stormers, uncapped)