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Springboks name 33-man squad for latest camp in Durban

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has confirmed the 33 players for the second Springboks preparation camp in Durban, which will take place this week from Monday to Wednesday.

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Following a 15-man camp earlier this month, this latest selection has been bolstered by players who had participated in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final in Cape Town on Saturday, alongside numerous players based overseas.

Compared to the initial preparation camp held just over a week ago, the current squad is more than double in size. This increase is attributed to several players finalizing their club commitments in Japan, while various representatives from the DHL Stormers, as well as lock RG Snyman (Munster) and loose forward Duane Vermeulen (Ulster), concluded their Vodacom URC campaigns.

All 33 players have previously been members of the national squad within the last two seasons. Similar to the preceding camp, a limited number of injured players, including Springbok captain and flanker Siya Kolisi, lock Eben Etzebeth, scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, and prop Thomas du Toit, have been included in the squad. The medical team for the Springboks will continue to closely monitor the progress of these individuals and oversee their rehabilitation.

The invitation extended to the nine of the freshly beaten DHL Stormers players, which includes seasoned props Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff, utility back Damian Willemse, flyhalf Manie Libbok, and utility forward Deon Fourie. Additionally, the group of Japanese players consists of hooker Malcolm Marx, loose forward Kwagga Smith, lock Lood de Jager, utility forward Franco Smith, and centre Damian de Allende.

“We are delighted to have a quality training squad at this camp. The squad size will allow us to have productive on-field training sessions without having to rotate and manage players too much,” said Nienaber.

“We had a strong core of the players at the last preparation camp, and we intend to build on the foundation we laid there when we assemble in Durban, and I believe this will set us in good stead going into the Castle Lager Rugby Championship camp in Pretoria next month.

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“This will mark the first time most of the players will be in the national set-up this season, as the alignment camps in Cape Town and Stellenbosch and the last preparation camp in Durban included mainly the locally based players. We did, however, have online alignment sessions with the overseas based players, so we are excited about this opportunity to work with them in person.”

33-man Springbok training squad:

Props: Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks).

Hookers: Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers), Malcom Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks).

Locks: Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers), RG Snyman (Munster).

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Loose forwards: 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).

Utility Forwards: Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat).

Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks).

Flyhalves: Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers).

Centres: Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles).

Outside Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls).

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Nickers 1 hours ago
'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time'

Extreme hyperbole from Biggar. NZ have played far, far worse than that. The 20/21 team was by far the worst of the professional era. Losses to Argentina, shambolic game against Japan and hapless NH tour of 2021. But even that dreadful team were able to put 50 points on Wales and beat them by 38. Much easier to “tear them to pieces” from the commentary box apparently. Ignored by virtually everyone is how good the ABs defence was. That is why England didn’t win, they simply could not score enough points against that defence. The ABs attack was very average, but their defence was world class and that’s what won them the game. Any Wales team that Biggar has ever played for would have found themselves in the same situation and would definitely not have scored tries from those cross kicks. That ABs team beats Biggar’s best Wales team 31 - 13. England’s attack was as good as it was allowed to be by a superior defence. Hats off to Hansen, he has picked up where MacLeod finally got the ABs to last year and not missed a step. England’s attack will be a big worry for Borthwick. They have not established a reliable, repeatable way to break teams down and score points. They were held to some very low scores by average teams in the 6N, and again here didn’t cross 20 points on either occasion. If I was an England fan I would be crying out for a new attack coach. Borthwick would do well to cast his net now, a poor home winter with a faltering attack will start the calls for his job.

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Thomas 1 hours ago
'Champions get up when they can't': Matt Williams weighs in on Ireland's win over Boks

While both teams have their particular positives, I think neither team should rest on their laurels. South Africa managed to tie a series against an uncomfortable opponent, that has had their numbers for a couple of years, while trial-running a completely new attack system, that still doesn’t work properly. But one aspect of “it doesn’t work yet” is a transition from attack to defense in broken play, as the Boks leaked three tries in two matches this way, and lost the second match as a result. Ireland avoided a series loss in a hostile environment, and in spite of many key player injuries, while managing to significantly improve and tighten their defense in game 2 (which demonstrates the breadth of their squad as well as their ability to adjust and recalibrate). At the same time, their own attack hadn’t amounted to much, either (save from exploiting the gaps in the Boks’ new system, gaps that won’t be there anymore in a few months’ time), and they haven’t found an answer to the Boks scrum, which almost costed them the 2nd match, if it hadn’t been for pretty much unrepeatable Frawley heroics. In the end, there isn’t much that separates those two sides … which is exactly what we knew before the series already. Back to the drawing board for both teams, the work only just begins for two teams with the highest ambition. Start of a cycle alright.

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