Get Newsletter

The players that are 'on trial' in BA

The Springbok World Cup squad will be announced at a formal shindig next Tuesday, August 8.


We know that at least 15 players (perhaps 16) are confirmed – those players that were left behind when a 26-man squad departed for Buenos Aires this past weekend.

The players who remained behind in South Africa – the World Cup certainties – are Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Ox Nche, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux and Handre Pollard.

Concussed scrumhalf Grant Williams will also be on that list of ‘certainties’ if there are no complications from the concussion he suffered against Argentina this past weekend.

That leaves 26 players – those in Buenos Aires – to scrap for the remaining 17 places.

Not all 26 will take to the field at VĂ©lez Sarsfield.

Some of those on the trip to Argentina are also on the ‘certainties’ list.

(WATCH Jacques Nienaber unpack his selection policies …)

Video Spacer

It leaves us with a handful of players in a desperate scrap to secure a ticket to France 2023.

Starting with the front row, we know that Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch will be on the aeroplane.

It leaves Gerhard Steenekamp and Trevor Nyakane doing battle for the additional spot – with the phrase ‘utility ability’ likely to win the day.

Steenekamp is the one most in need of a run and BA will be his last opportunity.


The position of hooker has been settled – Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi and Joseph Dweba the certainties. Deon Fourie will get his ticket as a ‘utility’ forward – hooker and flank.

The locks in France will be Eben Etzebeth, Snyman and Lood de Jager – with Franco Mostert getting the utility (lock and flank) spot.

That leaves Jean Kleyn and Marvin Orie to do battle for the additional second row spot.

The contest among the loose forwards is also a big arm wrestle.

Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden and Duane Vermeulen already have their tickets booked. Jasper Wiese, although in the Buenos Aires group, also seems to have a ‘certainty’ tag.

It means Jean-Luc du Preez and Evan Roos are doing battle for the additional spot.

Du Preez, who often plays at lock for Sale Sharks in the Premiership and Europe, is the most in need of game time.

With Faf de Klerk back home and Grant Williams seemingly on the mend from a concussion, Jaden Hendrikse, Herschel Jantjies and Cobus Reinach are doing battle for two remaining spots.

Hendrikse was the first choice before his unfortunate injury, but also in desperate need of game time. It seems either Jantjies or Reinach will miss the cut.

The position of flyhalf seems settled – Handre Pollard, Manie Libbok and utility Damian Willemse. De Klerk and Williams can slot in there in an emergency.

Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am are the established midfield pairing, leaving Andre Esterhuizen and Jesse Kriel to do battle for the third centre spot – given that Damian Willemse also covers centre.

Willie le Roux (as fullback) and Cheslin Kolbe (wing) know they are going to France.

Makazole Mapimpi is also a given.

That leaves Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse to battle for the additional outside back position.

Given the ‘utility’ options available, the picture could change quite dramatically in the next week, but Saturday’s face-off between the Springboks and Los Pumas in Buenos Aires is certainly a ‘World Cup trial’ for some players.



Join free

Fresh Starts | Episode 1 | Will Skelton


Aotearoa Rugby Podcast | Episode 8

James Cook | The Big Jim Show | Full Episode

New Zealand victorious in TENSE final | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Men's Highlights

New Zealand crowned BACK-TO-BACK champions | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Women's Highlights

Japan Rugby League One | Steelers v Sungoliath | Full Match Replay

Rugby Europe Women's Championship | Netherlands v Spain

Write A Comment