A preliminary Springbok training squad of 20 players for the forthcoming Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to the United Kingdom and France was announced on Sunday, with Duane Vermeulen, Trevor Nyakane and Lood de Jager making a return to the group, while Tendai Mtawarira was ruled out of the tour due to injury.
The majority of the squad players have already assembled on Sunday for camp, which will last for a week before they depart in two groups to London next Saturday. Overseas-based players and those involved in the 2018 Currie Cup Final, sponsored by Nashua and DirectAxis Financial Services, were not considered for the Stellenbosch camp.
De Jager is back in the Springbok mix following a lengthy injury lay-off, while Nyakane, who joined the Springboks for their last two Castle Lager Rugby Championship to continue his rehabilitation and conditioning, is also included in the group. Vermeulen played for the Boks in the 2-1 series win over England in June but did not feature in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
“It is good to welcome back a player of the caliber of Lood – he will add experience to a position where we already have some very good competition for places. Duane, of course, will also bring similar valuable experience to the group,” said Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby.
Erasmus also confirmed that Mtawarira, the most experienced player in the Bok squad on 107 Test Caps, was not considered due to an injury he sustained against the All Blacks in Pretoria earlier this month.
According to Erasmus, the Springbok coaching staff are looking forward to start working again with the players following a short break after the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
“It’s a tough tour and our preparation time is limited, but we have set ourselves some goals and as has been the case the entire season, we would like to see the squad continue to grow as a group and add to our depth with the 2019 Rugby World Cup less than a year away,” said Erasmus.
The Springboks open their tour on Saturday 3 November at Twickenham in London when they face England for a fourth time this year. The Springboks won the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Eddie Jones’ men by 2-1 in June.
A week later, Siya Kolisi and his Springbok team mates tackle France at the Stade de France in Paris. On 17 November, Scotland host the Springboks at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh, before the tour concludes with a visit to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to play Wales on Saturday, 24 November.
Erasmus will announce the full Springbok tour squad for the 2018 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour after next Saturday’s Currie Cup final, when DHL Western Province host the Cell C Sharks in Cape Town.
The Springbok training squad (in order of name, position, province, Test caps, Test points):
Schalk Brits (Hooker, Unattached, 11, 5 – 1t)
Lood de Jager (Lock, Vodacom Blue Bulls, 36, 20 – 4t)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Flank / Lock, DHL Western Province, 42, 20 – 4t)
Eben Etzebeth (Lock, DHL Western Province, 73, 15 – 3t)
Steven Kitshoff (Prop, DHL Western Province, 33, 5 – 1t)
Siya Kolisi (Flank, DHL Western Province, 37, 25 – 5t)
Frans Malherbe (Prop, DHL Western Province, 25, 0)
Malcolm Marx (Hooker, Xerox Golden Lions, 20, 20 – 4t)
Trevor Nyakane (Prop, Vodacom Blue Bulls, 37, 5 – 1t)
RG Snyman (Lock, Honda Heat, Japan, 8, 0)
Duane Vermeulen (No. 8, Kubota Spears, Japan, 42, 15 – 3t)
Warren Whiteley (No. 8, Xerox Golden Lions, 21, 15 – 3t)
Damian de Allende (Centre, DHL Western Province, 33, 20 – 4t)
Aphiwe Dyantyi (Wing, Xerox Golden Lions, 9, 30 – 6t)
André Esterhuizen (Centre, Munakata Sanix Blues, Japan, 5, 0)
Elton Jantjies (Flyhalf, Xerox Golden Lions, 29, 223 – 2t, 42c, 43p)
Jesse Kriel (Centre, Vodacom Blue Bulls, 36, 50 – 10t)
Embrose Papier (Scrumhalf, Vodacom Blue Bulls, 4, 0)
Handré Pollard (Flyhalf, Vodacom Blue Bulls, 35, 293 – 3t, 55c, 53p, 3d)
Ivan van Zyl (Scrumhalf, Vodacom Blue Bulls, 3, 0)
Source: SA Rugby Communications