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Springboks release two players early from their touring squad

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

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Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber has confirmed that winger Sbu Nkosi and utility back Aphelele Fassi have been released from the touring squad before this Saturday’s game against England and will instead depart for South Africa on Wednesday evening.

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Both outside backs were members of the national squad throughout the international season. Nkosi won the last of his 16 Springboks caps as a starter in the early October win over the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship in Australia, but he was delayed arriving in the UK due to some red tape, while Fassi earned the most recent of his two caps in the August win over Argentina in Port Elizabeth. 

With Nienaber having now chosen his final matchday 23 of 2021 on Tuesday, neither player was going to be involved versus England in the last game of the Autumn Nations Series and this prompted the decision by the Springboks to release the pair early to prepare for some upcoming United Rugby Championship duty.

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“We completed the bulk of our on-field preparations on Wednesday and our only remaining training session is our captains run on Friday, so it made sense to release Sbu and Aphelele to the Sharks,” explained Nienaber.

“With our squad already selected for Saturday’s Test against England and all positions covered in terms of depth within the touring squad should there be any last-minute withdrawals, we thought it would be beneficial for these players to get back into the fold with the Sharks who are preparing for their United Rugby Championship match against the Scarlets next weekend.”

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