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VIDEO: Boks back in the Currie Cup

NEWS: Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus released nine players who are not involved in Saturday’s series decider against Ireland to feature in the Currie Cup this weekend.

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The players all returned to their provincial unions on Wednesday, as they need game time ahead to next week’s closing match of the mid-year series against Portugal in Bloemfontein.

Six of the nine players, all of whom will rejoin the Boks on Sunday, have Test caps.

They are Trevor Nyakane (prop), Makazole Mapimpi, Edwill van der Merwe (both wings), Andre Esterhuizen, Lukhanyo Am (both centres) and Aphelele Fassi (fullback).

The other three players are Jan-Hendrik Wessels (hooker/prop), Phepsi Buthelezi (loose forward), and Morné van den Berg (scrumhalf).

These players are expected to inject some experience and skill into their respective Currie Cup teams, while at the same time getting valuable game time as the coaching staff cast an eye on their historic Test against Portugal.

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“We have a big squad at the moment, and as valuable as it is to have so many players at training, it’s important that we keep the players match fit,” said Erasmus.

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“Playing in the Currie Cup is ideal since we are locally based, and the players are only a flight away.

“We finished the groundwork for Saturday’s Test on Wednesday with the entire squad, and we only have the captain’s run left on Friday, so it makes sense to send some players to their unions to play.

“This will not only keep them sharp as individuals, but it will also assist our cause if we do well against Ireland this week and decide to mix things up regarding team selection against Portugal.”

(Continue below the Erasmus interview …)

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Erasmus praised the players for their hard work and dedication at training since joining the squad and he was confident that most of them would make their Springbok debuts at some stage this season as the team builds toward to the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

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“Some of the players played against Wales at Twickenham and I’m sure they are excited to get back onto the field in a proper match before joining us again on Sunday,” said Erasmus.

“The other players haven’t played in a few weeks, although they have trained hard and with intent for us.

“The reality is that there is no substitute for real game time.

“We know they’ll return even sharper and hopefully we can give many of them a chance against Portugal.”

Erasmus added: “Building squad depth has been one of our key pillars since 2018, and as I’ve said we are building toward to 2027, so it’s important that we give a few of the young players a chance to prove themselves at top international level.

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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