Avatar photo

By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Unlucky six: These players failed to crack nod for Springboks camp

Some of the best players in the domestic scene have missed out on selection for the Springboks' first alignment camp of the year.

The Springboks’ journey towards the 2027 Rugby World Cup is well underway following the call up of 43 players to an alignment camp next month in Cape Town.

Rassie Erasmus, who has been re-appointed as the Boks’ head coach, has selected 39 domestic players and four Japan-based players to make up the 43.

There are a number of new faces in the latest Boks set-up, while there are some players that have not been included, raising many eyebrows.

The Citizen looks at six players who were unlucky to miss out on being part of the Springboks’ first alignment camp of the year and what this means for their Boks aspirations.

Hacjivah Dayimani (loose forward)

The exclusion of Hacjivah Dayimani from the alignment camp group has divided the rugby fraternity. Given his consistent performances on the field, many felt that this was the year to get the dynamic Dayimani into the Boks squad, so it is surprising that he has been overlooked.

Only Erasmus can account for, and give clarity as to, why Dayimani has not been roped into the Boks system and what he needs to do to convince the Bok boss he is good enough and has the right skills to play Test rugby.

David Kriel (utility back)

David Kriel has been one of the most outstanding players for the Bulls this season. He has proved to be the ultimate utility player, being able to play right across the backline.

His versatility in the backline was poised to make him a must-have in the Springboks set-up. Kriel is on an upward trajectory in his career and will continue to improve as he plays under Jake White at the Bulls.

Joseph Dweba (hooker)

Joseph Dweba not being part of the alignment squad puts into question his Springboks future. The decision to not call him up as a replacement for Malcolm Marx in last year’s Rugby World Cup is now clear — Erasmus is looking at other hookers.

It seems as if he has fallen out of favour with the Springboks management and the emergence of his Stormers teammate Andre-Hugo Venter and the Bulls’ Jan-Hendrik Wessels has seen him slip further down the pecking order.

Aphelele Fassi (fullback)

From the moment he burst on the scene, it was clear that Aphelele Fassi was one of the most talented players South Africa has produced, a generational talent, and one to be watched.

He has played for the Boks before but could not make progress in his international career because of elements lacking in his game, especially his defence. This season, we have seen an improvement in that aspect, and there was expectation that he could return to the Boks system but that’s not been the case.

Aphelele Fassi
Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi has missed out on a Boks call up. Picture: Gallo Images

Embrose Papier (scrumhalf)

Embrose Papier’s omission from the alignment camp group is one that shocked fans as he has been brilliant for the Bulls. His performances this season have been superb; testament to that are the back-to-back man of the match gongs he has won in the United Rugby Championship.

Papier is playing his best rugby at the moment, he controls games well and is a great attacking threat with his pace.

It’s surely only a matter of time before he gets back into the Boks fold.

Francke Horn (loose forward)

South Africa, as always, is producing a lot of good, high quality loose forwards, which makes it hard to get into the Springboks set-up for some players. The Lions’ No 8 seems to have missed out because of exactly that — there’s just so much back-row talent.

Horn will be a player of national team interest very soon though, of that there is little doubt. He just has to continue playing the way he has been playing for the Lions in the last couple of seasons and his time will come.

Read more on these topics

Rassie Erasmus Springboks (Bokke/Boks)

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits