Eight uncapped players in Bok squad for upcoming Test season
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber announced a 43-man squad on Saturday for the international season ahead.
The season will feature the July series against Wales, the Rugby Championship and the Year-end tour, which will likely include three SA ‘A’ games.
There are eight uncapped players in the squad.
These players are No.8s Evan Roos (Stormers) and flank Elrigh Louw (Bulls), locks Ruan Nortje (Bulls) and Salmaan Moerat (Stormers), utility forward Deon Fourie (Stormers), fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls), scrumhalf Grant Williams, and prop Ntuthuko Mchunu (Sharks).
The surprise omissions from the squad are veteran No.8 Duane Vermeulen and utility back Francois Steyn.
A squad of 17 players gathered in Pretoria for the opening week of the team’s preparation camp last week, featuring a number of Sharks and Japanese-based players.
With the Bulls and Stormers advancing to the Final of the United Rugby Championship next week, Nienaber called up Roos, Fourie, and Warrick Gelant (fullback) who makes a return to the national set-up for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Moerat and Marvin Orie (both locks), Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe (both props), Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) and Damian Willemse (utility back) other the othrs from the Cape-based franchise, while Coetzee, Louw, Nortje and Arendse join from the Bulls.
Nienaber’s squad also includes a group of older hands in Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks – both locks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Verblitz), Rynardt Elstadt (Tououse), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat – all utility forwards), , Damian de Allende (Munster), Andre Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel – both centres), Vincent Kock (Saracens), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92 – both props), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks scrumhalf), Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux hooker), Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Handre Pollard (Montpellier – both flyhalves), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz – both fullbacks). Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears hooker), and Jasper Wiese (Leicester – No.8).
The remaining players are set to join the squad following their club and franchise commitments.
Johan Goosen (flyhalf) – who joined Cobus Reinach in the opening week – will also remain with the squad until the conclusion of the camp to continue his rehabilitation, with Reinach set to remain with the group.
“Building squad depth is one of the key areas for us, and it is great to see the number of young players who have put up their hands this season, and we are delighted to invite them to the national squad environment,” said Nienaber.
“It is also good to welcome back some of the experienced players who have been part of our structures for a few years now, and I’m confident they will slot back into set-up with ease.
“We obviously have to wait a little longer for some players to be released from their club commitments, but we are pleased to be able to announce the squad with exactly three weeks to go before our opening Test against Wales.”
Nienaber added: “We now have a bigger training squad, which will allow us to do a lot more at our training sessions, but most importantly it will give us more time to work with these players as we prepare for a challenging international season.”
Looking forward to the second week of the team’s preparation camp, Nienaber said: “The players laid a solid foundation for us to build from last week, and we are looking forward to taking things up a notch next week.
“Every training session and gym session will count as we look to get our structures well in place for the season ahead and to meet the standards we have set for ourselves by the time the Incoming Series kicks off.”
The Boks will kick off their 2022 season with the three Tests against Wales on 2, 9 and 16 July respectively before launching into the Rugby Championship, where they will line up against the All Blacks in back-to-back home Tests, which will be followed by a tour to Australia and Argentina.
They will then return home for their final Test against the Pumas in Durban in September.
Springbok squad for the International season:
Props: Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Sharks), Ox Nche (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92)
Hookers: Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Sharks)
Locks: Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (Sharks), Salmaan Moerat (Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Bulls), Marvin Orie (Stormers)
Loose forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Marcell Coetzee (Bulls), Siya Kolisi (Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Bulls), Evan Roos (Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)
Utility forwards: Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse), Deon Fourie (Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)
Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks), Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Grant Williams (Sharks)
Flyhalves: Johan Goosen (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Handre Pollard (Montpellier Herrault)
Midfielders: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Munster), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles)
Outside Backs: Aphelele Fassi (Sharks), Warrick Gelant (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks)
Utility Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls), Damian Willemse (Stormers)