Mancunian flavour to Nienaber's Springboks
CLUBS AND THEIR BOK NUMBERS: South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has hailed the Mancunian flavour to the Springbok squad that will face the British and Irish Lions in July and August.
Five of Alex Sanderson’s Premiership title-chasing Sale Sharks gained inclusion at the weekend in a 46-strong squad selection – featuring players from 19 different teams spread across five different countries.
Twenty-four picks were South African based, eight in France, seven in England, five in Japan and two in Ireland.
Of that, the Durban-based Sharks had the greatest representation, accounting for nine players, while the next best was the Stormers with eight.
Then came Sale Sharks with the third-largest representation of five – the World Cup-winning pair Francois de Klerk and Lodewyk de Jager. They are joined in the Springboks squad by 30-cap Coenie Oosthuizen, four-cap Dan du Preez and 13-cap Jean-Luc du Preez.
The latter trio was not involved when South Africa was conquering the world and defeating England in Japan in November 2019.
With just a single Sale player – Tom Curry – earning selection in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad, the five-strong Sharks contingent chosen by the Springboks underlined the influence that South Africa wields in the Premiership.
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“The nice thing about the Sale set-up is there are a lot of South African guys who have played and been in the mix, “Erasmus told a virtual media briefing after the Bok squad announcement at the weekend.
“Now Jean-Luc and his brother Dan, as well as Coenie are also in the mix.
“It hasn’t always been a lot, but these are guys we think that are in sync, guys we have access to, guys that play regularly with Faf [de Klerk],” explained Erasmus.
“When guys are playing a game plan and you have to rely on a nine who in the Springboks, let’s say with Jean-Luc, Dan and Coenie, they are three new guys [in the current Bok set-up], but they must jump together in the line-out and scrum together and then in general play they must mix with Faf.
“It makes sense for us in that regard and especially because we feel the high-performance programme at Sale is really good.
“Look, it’s terrible to lose the players [to non-South African teams abroad], because we don’t have the money.
“We desperately want to keep them, but when you lose them you lose to a club like that where there are a lot of other South Africans and they are coached well, well done to Sale.
“There are a few guys that are unlucky like Akker [Armand van der Merwe] and [Rohan] Janse van Rensburg, who was injured at one stage. There is still a lot of boys that one day might make it in the next two or three years but we are very chuffed with what is going on at Sale.”
The Springboks’ other English-based picks were Saracens tighthead Vincent Koch and uncapped Leicester No.8 Jasper Wiese.
Montpellier was the dominant French club, providing three players in the uncapped Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Cobus Reinach and Handré Pollard, while the two Irish-based players were the Munster duo, Rudolph Snyman and Damian de Allende.
By Liam Heagney, RugbyPass