Nienaber recalls two and gives flyhalf update
SQUAD UPDATE: Coach Jacques Nienaber has recalled a couple of exciting backline players for the final round of South Africa’s Rugby Championship campaign.
Sibusiso Nkosi and Kurt-Lee Arendse have been recalled to the Springbok squad for the final match – against Argentina at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
Nienaber also released four players to their franchises to rack up game time, as the competition reaches a conclusion.
Damian Willemse (flyhalf) sustained a concussion in last Saturday’s 36-20 victory against Argentina in Buenos Aires and will also return to his franchise to follow the prescribed return to play protocols.
Nkosi has recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of Springbok action the entire year so far, while Arendse has served his suspension for a dangerous tackle in the match between the Springboks and All Blacks in Nelspruit and is back in contention for selection.
Meanwhile, Joseph Dweba (hooker), Warrick Gelant (utility back), Elrigh Louw (loose forward) and Salmaan Moerat (lock) have been released to their respective franchises to allow them to get valuable game time.
The Springboks have a one-month break after Saturday’s outing in Durban, before gathering to prepare for the year-end tour.
The Boks will play Tests against Ireland (November 5), France (November 12), Italy (November 19) and England (November 26).
There will also be mid-week matches against Munster (November 10) and the Bristol Bears (November 17).
The Springboks are currently tied on 14 points with New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.
Depending on the outcome of the game between New Zealand and Australia in Auckland on Saturday, the Boks may need a bonus-point win or a victory by a convincing margin against Los Pumas as they currently trail New Zealand on 13 points on points’ difference.
“We have been pretty unlucky with injuries to our wings in the last few months, which has forced our hand at giving players such as Kurt-Lee and Canan (Moodie) a chance at international level,” Nienaber said.
“We are pleased with the depth we are now building as we get closer toward the World Cup next year.
“Kurt-Lee had a great debut and played very well against the All Blacks, but he was unfortunately banned, and we are delighted to have him back as he’s a very talented player.
“Sbu [Nkosi] has been in our system for several years now and he has recovered from injury, so we are excited to welcome him back.
“He has shown his class in several big matches, and he brings experience, so he will undoubtedly add great value to the squad.
“This also allows us an opportunity to take stock of the depth we have at wing as we are now a year out from the Rugby World Cup in France.”
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Commenting on the players released to their franchises, Nienaber said since they had an idea of the match-23 they would like to select for Saturday’s rematch against Argentina, it made sense to grant those players an opportunity to build their game time with the year-end tour around the corner.
“This year alone we have given close to 50 players an opportunity to play, so we have certainly ticked the box of creating squad depth, which is one of our key pillars for the team,” said Nienaber.
“We are, however, going into our last match of the Rugby Championship and we think it would be more beneficial for these players to return to their franchises and provinces to gain valuable game time.
“We have a long and challenging year-end tour ahead, which will involve an expanded squad, and we need the players to be match fit so we can hit the ground running when we depart for the tour.”
Nienaber will announce his match-day squad for the final Test against Argentina on Tuesday.