Duane Vermeulen, Handre Pollard (both Vodacom Bulls), Lukhanyo Am, Sibusiso Nkosi (both Cell C Sharks) and Francois Louw (Bath) are amongst a group of 13 players who have been added to the Springbok training group in Pretoria in preparation of the forthcoming Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
The Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks completed their Vodacom Super Rugby commitments last weekend, meaning their invited players can join the current national training group. The squad has been in camp since last weekend, and the attendance will now increase to 39 players.
Ruan Botha (Cell C Sharks, foot surgery), Dan du Preez (Cell C Sharks, rib fracture), Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions, knee surgery), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers, knee surgery) and Jan Serfontein (ankle surgery) were not considered for the training camp due to injury.
Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, said he and the Springbok coaches are very pleased with the amount of work they were able to do with the group during the past week in Pretoria.
“After our series of alignment camps, it was great to get the available group of players together and to get going with our field sessions,” said Erasmus.
“Kwagga Smith has recovered from his hamstring strain and was cleared to return to training, which meant that we were able to have 25 players available for our daily field training sessions. Our captain, Siya Kolisi, is continuing with his rehabilitation and the aim is to have him ready in time for the start of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.”
The Springboks will kick off their shortened Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday, 20 July, against the Wallabies in Johannesburg, which will be followed a week later by the keenly awaited rematch with New Zealand in Wellington – the scene of last year’s epic away-win against the All Blacks.
The Boks will conclude their official campaign against Argentina two weeks later, on Saturday, 10 August, in Salta, while the same two teams are set to meet again a week later in Pretoria in a once-off Test before the Boks report for Rugby World Cup training duty.
The Springbok training group now consist of the following players (new additions marked in bold):
Schalk Brits (Vodacom Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Ulster, Ireland), Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls), Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), Rynardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), Lizo Gqoboka (Vodacom Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), Marvin Orie (Emirates Lions), Kwagga Smith (Emirates Lions), RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls).
Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), Andre Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Emirates Lions), Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), Dillyn Lleyds (DHL Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks),Sibusiso Nkosi (Cell C Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France).