Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has announced his national squad for the international season ahead, featuring the Incoming Series against Wales, Rugby Championship against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, and the Year-end tour, which will likely include three SA A games, with the group of 43 players featuring eight uncapped players.
These players are No 8 Evan Roos (Stormers), flank Elrigh Louw (Bulls), locks Ruan Nortje (Bulls) and Salmaan Moerat (Stormers), utility forward Deon Fourie (Stormers), fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls), scrumhalf Grant Williams (Sharks), and prop Ntuthuko Mchunu (Sharks).
A squad of 17 players gathered in Pretoria for the opening week of the team’s preparation camp last week, featuring a number of Sharks and Japanese-based players.
Nienaber’s squad also includes a group of older hands in Eben Etzebeth (Sharks), Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Rynardt Elstadt (Toulouse), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat), Damian de Allende (Munster), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Vincent Kock (Saracens), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks), Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux), Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Handre Pollard (Montpellier), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Malcolm Marx (Kebota Spears), and Jasper Wiese (Leicester).
The one big omission is Ulster No 8 Duane Vermeulen, who faced the Stormers in a URC semifinal in Cape Town on Saturday. No reason has been given for his missing out, but it understood he is due to have knee surgery soon. Also, Bulls hooker and man of the match in the URC semifinal win against Leinster on Friday, Johan Grobbelaar, misses out.
The remaining players are set to join the squad following their club and franchise commitments.
Johan Goosen (flyhalf) – who joined Cobus Reinach in the opening week – will also remain with the squad until of the conclusion of the camp to continue his rehabilitation, with Reinach set to remain with the group.
“Building squad depth is one of the key areas for us, and it is great to see the number of young players who have put up their hands this season, and we are delighted to invite them to the national squad environment,” said Nienaber.
“It is also good to welcome back some of the experienced players who have been part of our structures for a few years now, and I’m confident they will slot back into set-up with ease.
“We obviously have to wait a little longer for some players to be released from their club commitments, but we are pleased to be able to announce the squad with exactly three weeks to go before our opening Test against Wales.”
The Boks will kick off their 2022 season with three Tests against Wales on 2, 9 and 16 July respectively before launching into the Rugby Championship.
Springbok squad for International season:
Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Sharks), Ox Nche (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92)
Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Sharks),
Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (Sharks), Salmaan Moerat (Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Bulls), Marvin Orie (Stormers)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Marcell Coetzee (Bulls), Siya Kolisi (Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Bulls), Evan Roos (Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)
Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse), Deon Fourie (Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)
Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks), Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Grant Williams (Sharks)
Johan Goosen (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Handre Pollard (Montpellier Herrault),
Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Munster), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Cannon Eagles)
Aphelele Fassi (Sharks), Warrick Gelant (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks)
Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls), Damian Willemse (Stormers)