Rassie Erasmus names 11 uncapped stars in Springboks training camp ahead of intriguing Test season

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Ben-Jason Dixon and Siya Masuku.

Split with Ben-Jason Dixon and Siya Masuku.

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus has named 11 uncapped players in an initial 35-man training squad ahead of the Test season that begins against Wales later this month.

The camp will get underway in Pretoria on Monday with the first goal to prepare for the Wales Test at Twickenham on June 22, which falls outside of the Test window, meaning only locally and Japan-based players are eligible for selection.

New faces

Several Lions stars feature after an electric season with Jordan Hendrikse, Quan Horn, Morne van den Berg and Edwill van der Merwe all getting the nod from Erasmus.

Challenge Cup-winning Sharks also make it in the form of Phepsi Buthelezi, Siya Masuku and Ethan Hooker, who all had brilliant campaigns, while finally Ben-Jason Dixon, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Neethling Fouche and Andre-Hugo Venter are the uncapped Stormers named.

Bulls players were not considered for the squad as they remain in contention for the United Rugby Championship title having booked a semi-final against Leinster next weekend.

United Rugby Championship semi-final fixtures and kick-off times confirmed


Erasmus believes the selection is a good blend and underlined the importance of giving new talent a run in the build-up to the next World Cup.

“We selected a group of players featuring a good mix of youth and experience, and in terms of the young players especially, we believe they have the potential to make the step-up to top international rugby,” said Erasmus.

“We’ve been following all their performances closely, we had the luxury of presenting our plans to them and getting to know them as individuals off the field at the alignment camps, and we are pleased with the enthusiasm they showed and willingness to learn.

“With the players based in Europe, the UK and Ireland not available for Wales, we anticipate that there will be a few players making their Test debuts in that match, but even for those who do not make the cut, having them in camp and getting the chance to work closely with them on the field will set them and the team in good stead as we prepare for this season and start laying the foundation for the 2027 World Cup in Australia.”

Erasmus added: “We gained immense value by granting a few players a chance to prove what they can do at international level in the last few years leading up to the 2023 World Cup. Some of the players who made their Test debuts in that time were members of the squad that lifted the trophy in Paris, and we feel it is important that we continue blooding new players as we build toward the future.

“As things stand, we have a bunch of young players that already have Test experience and who know exactly how we operate as a team and what is expected of them at this level, and we have no doubt that we will reap the rewards in the years to come as we continue to increase our squad depth.

“As always there are a few unlucky players who missed out on selection this time, but the door will always be open for them to be called up if the need arises.”

Some experienced players such as Steven Kitshoff, Lood de Jager and Jaden Hendrikse are amongst those to miss out due to injury.

It will be interesting to see how the Springboks evolve the side with a two-Test series against Ireland straight after the Wales clash before a game against Portugal rounds out the mid-year window, after which the South Africans will take to the Rugby Championship.

Springbok training squad

Forwards: Phepsi Buthelezi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Joseph Dweba, Ben-Jason Dixon (both DHL Stormers), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Neethling Fouche (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat), Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Blu Revs), Andre-Hugo Venter (DHL Stormers), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)

Backs: Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights), Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Aphelele Fassi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Jordan Hendrikse (Emirates Lions), Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers), Ethan Hooker (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Quan Horn (Emirates Lions), Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi, Siya Masuku (both Hollywoodbets Sharks), Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers), Morne van den Berg (Emirates Lions), Edwill van der Merwe (Emirates Lions), Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks)

READ MORE: Damian de Allende: ‘People forget what France did to host the World Cup’