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Erasmus names 16 uncapped players for Springboks alignment camp

By Josh Raisey
Rassie Erasmus, the South Africa director of rugby, holds a tackle bag during the South Africa Springboks training session held at The Lensbury on November 22, 2022 in Teddington, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus has named 16 uncapped players in his 43-man squad that will assemble in March for a two-day ‘alignment camp’.

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The camp will be the first time the Springboks have assembled since their World Cup triumph last year, and will give the players a chance to work with their new coaches Jerry Flannery, Tony Brown, Duane Vermeulen and former referee Jaco Peyper.

The squad will assemble on March 4 in Cape Town for the camp, and will include 19 members of the World Cup winning squad.

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Only four members of the squad are not currently based in South Africa, and that is the injured Japan-based quartet of Malcolm Marx, Kwagga Smith, Jesse Kriel and Faf de Klerk.

Nine of the uncapped players are forwards – prop Neethling Fouche, hookers Johan Grobbelaar, Andre-Hugo Venter, Marnus van der Merwe and Jan-Hendrik Wessels, lock Ruben van Heerden, and flankers Celimpilo Gumede, Cameron Hanekom and Ruan Venter.

The seven uncapped backs are scrum-half Sanele Nohamba, fly-halves Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu and Jordan Hendrikse, centres Suleiman Hartzenberg and Henco van Wyk, fullback Quan Horn, and utility back Morne van den Berg.

Looking ahead to the camp, Erasmus said: “We are delighted that the new coaching team will meet in person for the first time and that we will have the opportunity to present solid structures and the Springbok culture and way of doing things to the invited players.

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“The focus at this camp will be to get everyone on the same page for the 2024 season and we believe this will lay a good foundation for us looking forward.

“Jerry (Flannery) and Tony (Brown) are going to play vital roles in this coaching team, and we are excited to see them along with our other coaching staff put proper steps into action as we prepare for the challenging season ahead.”

Springbok alignment camp squad (in alphabetical order):

Forwards: Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Neethling Fouche (DHL Stormers), Johan Grobbelaar (Vodacom Bulls), Celimpilo Gumede (Vodacom Bulls), Cameron Hanekom (Vodacom Bulls), Andre-Hugo Venter (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls), Wilco Louw (Vodacom Bulls), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls), Marnus van der Merwe (Toyota Cheetahs), Ruben van Heerden (DHL Stormers), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Ruan Venter (Emirates Lions), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Vodacom Bulls).

Backs: Lukhanyo Am (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers), Suleiman Hartzenberg (DHL Stormers), Jaden Hendrikse (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Jordan Hendrikse (Emirates Lions), Quan Horn (Emirates Lions), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls), Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls), Sanele Nohamba (Emirates Lions), Morne van den Berg (Emirates Lions), Henco van Wyk (Emirates Lions), Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers).

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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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