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Springboks name 3 uncapped players in experienced squad for Ireland

By Josh Raisey
Jesse Kriel of South Africa (2nd right) celebrates scoring a try with team mate Aphelele Fassi during the Qatar Airways Cup match between South Africa and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on June 22, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus has named his 39-player squad for the upcoming series against Ireland in July, with the uncapped trio of Johan Grobbelaar, Jan-Hendrik Wessels and Phepsi Buthelezi making the list.

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Hooker Grobbelaar front row Wessels have been rewarded for a strong United Rugby Championship campaign with the Bulls, who fell short of winning the title at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

They will be joined by their Bulls teammates Gerhard Steenekamp, Marco van Staden, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Willie le Roux in the squad.

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Jake White reflects on what went wrong

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Jake White reflects on what went wrong

Sharks flanker Buthelezi is the final uncapped player selected by Erasmus, who has beaten the likes of Bulls flanker Elrigh Louw for a place in the squad.

The squad was originally scheduled to be named on Monday, but was pushed back after the team’s flight to South Africa from London was delayed.

Fixture
Internationals
South Africa
27 - 20
Full-time
Ireland
All Stats and Data

After coming away from Twickenham with a handsome 41-13 win over Wales on Saturday, the world champions will now switch their focus to their two-Test series against Six Nations champions Ireland next month, as well as a fixture against Portugal.

Three of the four players who earned their first caps against Wales have been named in the squad – flanker Ben-Jason Dixon, utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu and winger Edwill van der Merwe – while fly-half Jordan Hendrikse is on a standby list.

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Elsewhere in the squad, Cheslin Kolbe and Lukhanyo Am have returned from the injuries that prevented them from facing Wales.

World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi has also returned to the squad following his club commitments with Racing 92 in the Top 14, as has Leinster-bound Munster lock RG Snyman.

Leicester Tigers’ departing No8 Jasper Wiese is also named in the squad despite being unavailable to face Ireland as he serves a six-match ban. He would have been ineligible to face Wales anyway, alongside fellow Tiger Handre Pollard, as the match fell outside the Test window.

“Johan and Jan-Hendrik really impressed us at the alignment camps we hosted in the year, and they are talented players with a bright future, so we are keen to see what they can do and the dynamic they add to the team,” Erasmus said of the uncapped pair in his squad.

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“They are skilful players with immense talent and their selection will offer them a great opportunity to make their mark.

“Jan-Hendrik is equally efficient at prop and hooker, which increases our front-row options and hopefully with their talent and drive, they will add great value to the squad.

“We also saw what the uncapped players in the travelling squad for the Wales Test have to offer and we have no doubt that if they receive an opportunity to run out in the green and gold this season, they will give their best and wear the badge with pride.”

South Africa squad
Forwards:
Phepsi Buthelezi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Ben-Jason Dixon (DHL Stormers), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Thomas du Toit (Bath), Eben Etzebeth (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Johan Grobbelaar (Vodacom Bulls), Vincent Koch (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Siya Kolisi (Racing 92), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat), Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92/Hollywoodbets Sharks), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Blu Revs), RG Snyman (Munster/Leinster), Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Vodacom Bulls), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)

Backs:
Lukhanyo Am (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins/Hollywoodbets Sharks), Aphelele Fassi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Wilie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls), Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier), Morne van den Berg (Emirates Lions), Edwill van der Merwe (Emirates Lions), Grant Williams (Hollywoodbets Sharks)

Players on standby:
Forwards:
Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks), Joseph Dweba, Neethling Fouche (both DHL Stormers), Celimpilo Gumede, Elrigh Louw, Wilco Louw (all Vodacom Bulls), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Ruben van Heerden (DHL Stormers), Andre-Hugo Venter (DHL Stormers)

Backs: Suleiman Hartzenberg (DHL Stormers), Jordan Hendrikse (Emirates Lions), Ethan Hooker (Hollywoodbets Sharks), Quan Horn (Emirates Lions), Siya Masuku (Hollywoodbets Sharks)

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Comments

17 Comments
B
Bob 23 days ago

Why not pick Wilco Louw & Tyrone Green? They should be in the match day 23. Also leaving out Ruan Nortje and Nohamba is a mystery.
Vincent Koch, Trevor Nyakane & Cobus Reinach are all the wrong side of 30 - why persist with them if they will not start any of the matches?
Very happy for Thomas the Tank - he deserves a call up after his season with Bath and hopefully will feature in the starting 15, with Ox coming on from the bench.

Juarno Augustus (Northampton) - at least put his name on the standby list?

F
Flankly 24 days ago

Looks like 1/3 of the players in the squad were not in the RWC squad. And 100% of the standby players too.

Rassie looks to be giving himself options to be more or less aggressive in introducing new blood. It looks like he could field a starting 15 (and most of the front 5 on the bench) populated entirely from the RWC squad. More likely we will see two or three non-RWC faces in the starting forwards, one or two in the starting backs, and two of three on the bench.

S
Shaylen 24 days ago

So Elrigh Louw and Wilco deserve to be in the squad. Both players are prospects for 2027 and need game time. Wilco and Elrigh have been better than Vincent Koch and Phepsi Buthelezi. Elrigh has also been better than Ben Jason Dixon who is a good player himself. Cant understand why these players have been excluded. Including Jan Hendrik Wessels ahead of Dweba and Akker Van Der Merwe as well is a mystery given he is 3rd choice for bulls but the biggest omission is the URC player of the year in SA which is Sanele Nohamba. Not even on the reserve list yet Morne Van Den Berg who often plays behind Nohamba is in the main squad. Really dont get some of the ommissions

f
finn 24 days ago

really formidable squad for the Ireland series - but I’m not seeing as much long-term planning here as many were predicting.

W
Wesley 24 days ago

So much depth, unbelievable!

M
Moby 24 days ago

Can’t be easy selecting a Bok squad. No Elrigh nor Wilco Louw. Heavens! Boks could honestly compete with two teams in a World Cup. Hope they don’t. 🤣

A
Allen 24 days ago

Was hoping to see Tyronne Green included, but this team is stacked with talent. Also gotta feel for Ruan Nortje and David Kriel who both had a great season for the bulls 🐃

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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