European tour: Fringe Bok players to get a run against England
The final match of the tour, at Twickenham, falls outside the international Test window.
Cheslin Kolbe is one player who won’t be available to face England next month during the Springboks’ tour of Europe. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
A number of fringe Springbok players will get a chance to have a run out against England at Twickenham in front of 82,000 people when the two teams clash in the final match of the Boks’ European end-of-year-tour in November.
The massive encounter falls outside of the international window, which means that the various players’ clubs have every right to withdraw them from playing in the match.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber admitted that they would be releasing players that play in England, Ireland and France after the Italy Test a week earlier, but extended his gratitude to the Japanese clubs who have allowed their Bok players to feature.
“I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Japanese clubs for their co-operation in granting us permission to select the players for the England Test,” said Nienaber.
“We are building momentum toward the World Cup and the match against England plays a vital role in that process as they are among the leading title contenders.”
Players who are set to miss out on the England Test include props Vincent Koch (depending on where he is playing following Wasps’ problems) and Trevor Nyakane, lock Lood de Jager, loose forwards Jasper Wiese and Duane Vermeulen, scrumhalves Faf de Klerk and Cobus Reinach, centre Andre Esterhuizen and outside backs Warrick Gelant and Cheslin Kolbe.
This is not the first time that South Africa has played England outside the Test window, with Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, admitting that it is a double edged sword, as it gives them a chance to expose youngsters to a massive match, but robs them of momentum ahead of the World Cup.
“We have played against England outside of the Test window (before). That was the match with the famous Andre Esterhuizen tackle (in 2018), Ivan van Zyl was playing scrumhalf, Damian Willemse was playing fullback,” reminisced Erasmus with a smile.
“So, on the one hand it does give you a chance to put some youngsters in front of 85,000 people, but on the other hand England can play their best team and it is still a Test match less than a year out from the World Cup.
“So we are definitely happy to have the Japanese players available. Our South African franchises have been great because they can actually stop us from using their players outside the window as well.”