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South Africa name 35 man Springbok Rugby Championship squad

South Africa name 35 man Springbok Rugby Championship squad
Damian Willemse Springbok

South African Under-20 flyhalf Damian Willemse is one of three uncapped players included in the Springbok squad.

Coach Rassie Erasmus on Monday named a squad of 35 players for the Rugby Championship.

Siya Kolisi retains the captaincy.

The Lions quartet of Malcolm Marx (hooker), Warren Whiteley (No.8), Ross Cronje (scrumhalf) and Lionel Mapoe (centre) also back in the Bok fold for the first time this season.

Erasmus, also SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, named with two loose forwards, the Bulls’ Marco van Staden and Cyle Brink of the Lions, joining Willemse, the 20-year-old Stormers and Junior Springbok flyhalf, as the uncapped players in the group.

Whiteley and the experienced Eben Etzebeth (lock) both return – having recovered from long-term injuries, while Marx has shrugged off his hamstring troubles, which forced him to miss the June Internationals.

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Also returning to the Springbok squad are Francois Louw, the experienced flank who plays for English club side Bath, Lwazi Mvovo (outside back), as well Mapoe (centre) and Cronje (scrumhalf), both of whom missed the mid-year Tests because of injury.

Louw has represented the Boks in 57 Tests and Erasmus said he will add a lot of experience to the group.

“Eben and Warren have been out of the Bok mix for a while because of injury so it’s very pleasing to have them back in the squad, while Malcolm has regained his good form with the Lions since recovering from his injury,” said Erasmus, who added that the participation of Brink and Jean-Luc Preez (loose forward) is dependent on medical examinations.

“We saw the benefit and impact of Willie le Roux and Francois de Klerk in the squad during the June internationals and I want ‘Flo’ to perform a similar role for us.

“It is also pleasing to again add some young players who been showing good form and consistency for their franchise teams during Super Rugby,” Erasmus added, in reference to the uncapped trio of Willemse, Van Staden and Brink.

Le Roux (fullback, Wasps) and De Klerk (scrumhalf, Sale Sharks), both of whom were outstanding during the 2-1 June series win over England in June, are amongst the 15 backs in the squad.

The bulk of the players have been training in Stellenbosch for a few weeks, with the Lions contingent set to join them on Wednesday. The men from Johannesburg returned to South Africa on Monday after their Super Rugby final appearance on Saturday against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The squad will continue with preparations in Cape Town until Friday and following a two-day break will then reassemble in Durban next Sunday to continue with their build-up towards the Castle Lager Rugby Championship opener on 18 August against Argentina at Jonsson Kings Park. The two sides meet again a week later in Mendoza.

Players who were not considered because of injury include Damian de Allende (Stormers), Warrick Gelant, Lodewyk de Jager, Trevor Nyakane (all Bulls), Coenie Oosthuizen and Sbu Nkosi (both Sharks).

Springbok squad:

Forwards:
Cyle Brink, Jean-Luc du Preez, Thomas du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (captain), Francois Louw, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Marvin Orie, , Rudolph Snyman, Armand van der Merwe, Marco van Staden, Warren Whiteley.

Backs:
Lukhanyo Am, Ross Cronjé, Francois de Klerk, Aphiwe Dyantyi, André Esterhuizen, Elton Janjies, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Embrose Papier, Handré Pollard, Ivan van Zyl, Damian Willemse.

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South Africa name 35 man Springbok Rugby Championship squad | Rugby Pass