Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has named a 40-man training squad for the Rugby Championship that could become 41 with the pending inclusion of Irish international Jean Kleyn.
Kleyn, who recently won the United Rugby Championship with Munster, represented Ireland in five Tests in 2019 including the Rugby World Cup after qualifying through residency. However, the former Stormers lock was born in South Africa and it is on those grounds that SA Rugby has applied for an application regarding his eligibility.
The squad will meet on Sunday in Pretoria for a training camp until Thursday, June 29 ahead of the 2023 Rugby Championship which begins against the Wallabies on July 8.
Overseas stars to link up
Overseas players Cheslin Kolbe, Andre Esterhuizen, Handre Pollard, Jasper Wiese, Jean-Luc du Preez, Vincent and Trevor Nykane have been named in the squad. The latter trio will only link up with the group at a later stage due to club and personal commitments.
Nienaber is looking forward to the squad to switch completely into Test mode ahead of a massive international season.
“It is great that we have been able to invite this group of players to the camp and we are excited to get back onto the field and to switch into international mode completely,” said Nienaber.
“We hosted a string of alignment and preparation camps between February and last week, but this time we have the luxury of working with the domestic and overseas-based players and to spend time together as a wider squad daily.
“This will raise the quality of our training sessions as we will again be able to field full teams against one another, while also having a look at a big group of players as we prepare for a challenging Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign and 2023 season.
“Our medical team will also have more time to work directly with the players nursing injuries and to monitor their progress and rehabilitation as the Test matches draw nearer.”
After facing Eddie Jones’ Wallabies in the beginning of July the Springboks travel to Auckland to play the All Blacks at Mount Smart Stadium on July 15 before finishing the tournament against Argentina in Johannesburg on July 29.
Attention then switches to the Rugby World Cup as the Boks prepare with warm-up games against Argentina in Buenos Aires on August 5, Wales in Cardiff on August 19 and the All Blacks at Twickenham on August 25.
Springbok Rugby Championship Training Squad:
Forwards: Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Stade Francais), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92), Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks), Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers), RG Snyman (Munster), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Ulster), Jasper Wiese (Leicester), Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks), Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)
Backs: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks), Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers), Handre Pollard (Leicester), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers), Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls)
Springbok 2023 fixtures:
Saturday, 8 July – Springboks vs Australia (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Saturday, 15 July – Springboks vs New Zealand (Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland)
Saturday, 29 July – Springboks vs Argentina (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
RWC warm-up fixtures:
Saturday, 5 August – Springboks v Argentina (Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires)
Saturday, 19 August – Springboks vs Wales (Principality Stadium, Cardiff)
Friday, 25 August – Springboks vs New Zealand (Twickenham, London)
Sunday, 10 September – Springboks v Scotland (Stade Marseille, Marseille)
Sunday, 17 September – Springboks v Romania (Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux)
Saturday, 23 September – Springboks v Ireland (Stade de France, Paris)
Sunday, 1 October – Springboks v Tonga (Stade Marseille, Marseille)
Weekend of 14/15 October – Quarter-finals
Weekend of 21/22 October – Semi-finals
Saturday, 28 October – Final