Ross Roche

Compiled by Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Extended Springbok travelling squad to benefit from London trip

Erasmus is confident the additional members of the travelling squad will benefit from being exposed to the Test environment.

A large Springbok group will benefit from the trip to London for their season opener against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon, with 30 players heading to the English capital on Wednesday night.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus named an exciting 23-man squad for their first match of the season, with Pieter-Steph du Toit captaining a side featuring four debutants, while Vincent Kock will play his 50th game for the Boks.

A further seven players outside the matchday team will provide support, namely flyhalf Manie Libbok, lock RG Snyman, prop Neethling Fouche, loose forward Phepsi Buthelezi, centre Ethan Hooker, fullback Quan Horn, and hooker Andre-Hugo Venter.

With Snyman plying his trade in Ireland, he will make the short flight to London to join the squad following Munster’s exit from the United Rugby Championship in the semifinal against the Glasgow Warriors last weekend.

Erasmus is confident that the remaining members of the travelling squad will benefit immensely from being exposed to the Test environment, and he believes it will bode well for the Boks as they prepare for the 2024 season with a long-term view on the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

Missing players

The Bok coach was also pleased with the quality of the squad selected, especially with several regular first-choice players missing due to injuries and niggles, including Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo and Damian Willemse among others.

Bulls players were also ineligible for selection, with their team having advanced to the URC final and the Test falling outside the international window.

“We knew what challenges we would face in selecting the squad for this training camp and the Wales Test, but as a team we turned it into a fantastic opportunity to blood a few youngsters and expose them to the national set-up, which will be vital in the next few years as we build a squad capable of trying to win the Rugby World Cup in 2027,” said Erasmus.

“We are already reaping the rewards of exposing a few players to Test rugby in the last few years, with some of them being selected for the World Cup, while a few of the players taking the field on Saturday already know what it takes to succeed at international level.

“Building squad depth is one of our key pillars as a team, and this camp and Test match, as well as the one coming up against Portugal in Bloemfontein in the Incoming Series, will allow us to tick that box with an eye on the next few years.”

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