Eight new faces for Boks

Date published: June 28 2015

Heyneke Meyer has named eight uncapped players in his preliminary squad for the Rugby Championship with 49 players included in total.

In addition to the 36 squad members, the national selectors have identified 13 players who are currently injured or will be in rehabilitation, but will form part of an extended squad for the matches against the World XV, the Rugby Championship and the Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires.

The uncapped players in the squad are Stormers trio Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch, scrum-half pair Rudy Paige and Faf de Klerk, full-back Jesse Kriel of the Bulls and Lions duo Franco Mostert and Lionel Mapoe.

Back in the Springbok fold after not featuring for South Africa last year are Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn, Jaque Fourie, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Heinke van der Merwe.

The currently injured players included in the squad are Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, Mapoe, Brüssow, Du Toit, Steyn, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Duane Vermeulen, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, Fourie, Jan Serfontein and Fourie du Preez. The latter suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week.

"It’s a long list of injured players but all of them are in the selection frame and we’d like to work with them to assist with their rehabilitation," said Springbok coach Meyer.

"Some of them are close to full fitness and they will start training as soon as possible. We’ll assess and manage all the injured players individually with their return to play in mind and will do what is the best for the player and the team, even if it means that some of them play for their clubs or provinces if deemed necessary by our medical team and in consultation with their unions.

"Coenie Oosthuizen has been selected, but he has a neck injury which will rule him out of joining the squad immediately. We will wait for medical clarity to ensure we do what is best for Coenie before a decision is made on the way forward. 

"Even though Jaque Fourie announced that he had retired from Test rugby late last year, we have had positive talks with him and his club, Kobe in Japan, and an agreement was reached that he will be available for one last season of Test rugby. As soon as he’s back to full fitness, we’ll consider him for selection.

"Jean de Villiers’ rehabilitation is going very well but his return to play will be strictly monitored before an announcement in this regard is made."

Meyer added that Super Rugby form weighed heavily and as always there were a number of players who were desperately close to selection, but just missed out in the end.

"This is testament to the great depth we’ve managed to build in most positions over the last few years. It’s good to know we have players outside this squad who will be able to slot in should it be necessary," he added.

"Scarra has been with us before and he has done a great job specifically in the scrums with Vincent, Steven and Frans Malherbe for the DHL Stormers this year.

"Lionel, Franco, Faf and Elton have been part of the ever-improving Emirates Lions, while Rudy and Jesse grabbed their opportunities for the Vodacom Bulls this season.

"We also talked to Andries Bekker as we wanted to consider him for selection, but upon a request from his club in Japan he was ultimately not picked for the squad at this stage. Hopefully he will be available at a later stage during the season.

"Flip van der Merwe was on our radar but ultimately he has decided to rule himself out of Springbok contention."

The Springbok squad:

Forwards: Schalk Brits (Saracens), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Scarra Ntubeni (Stormers), Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Stormers), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Heinke van der Merwe (Stade Francais), Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Victor Matfield (Bulls), Franco Mostert (Lions), Willem Alberts (Sharks), Schalk Burger (Stormers), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath), Teboho 'Oupa' Mohoje (Cheetahs), Warren Whiteley (Lions)
Backs: Faf de Klerk (Lions), Rudy Paige (Bulls), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Handré Pollard (Bulls), Morné Steyn (Stade Francais), Damian de Allende (Stormers), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Bryan Habana (Toulon), Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Zane Kirchner (Leinster), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Willie le Roux (Cheetahs).

Injured/Conditioning squad:

Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), Lood de Jager (Cheetahs), Jean de Villiers (Stormers), Fourie du Preez (Suntory), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks), Jaque Fourie (Kobe Steelers), Patrick Lambie (Sharks),  Lionel Mapoe (Lions), Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), Cobus Reinach (Sharks), Jan Serfontein (Bulls), Frans Steyn (Sharks), Duane Vermeulen (Stormers).