World Cup champions picked in star-studded Green and Gold squads for Springbok Showdown trial match
A blend of World Cup-winning Springboks, Blitzboks sevens stars and promising Junior Boks prospects have been named in two 25-man squads for the Springbok Showdown trial match to be held in Cape Town next week.
South Africa Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and newly-appointed Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber selected the two sides in a live draft, the first of its kind in South African rugby history.
Both Erasmus, the coach who guided the Springboks to their third World Cup title in Japan last year, and Nienaber are the commissioners for the two sides, which features a total of 13 players from the world champion Springboks squad.
Erasmus’ Green squad will be coached by Springboks assistant Mzwandile Stick, while Nienaber’s Gold team will be led by former Southern Kings coach Deon Davids.
“The draft picks exercise was a refreshing way to select the two squads for the game,” Erasmus said.
“Myself, Jacques and the coaches thoroughly enjoyed the exercise, but the tension of picking squads on live television wasn’t good for the nerves… I hope our fans enjoyed something new on the South African rugby landscape.”
The 50 players selected for the trial match were picked from a pool of 93 domestically-based players who were last week named as contenders for the clash.
The group of players were identified from the Super Rugby and PRO14 seasons that ground to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, as well as those who stood out in last year’s Currie Cup.
There are also a slew of younger players who have been included that have been involved in South Africa Rugby’s Elite Player Development program in recent years.
According to a South Africa Rugby press release, both squads have been augmented by seven international rookies, of whom will be named in the coming days.
Numerous national stars, such as reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit, World Cup-winning wing Sbu Nkosi, Sharks speedster Aphelele Fassi and Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka weren’t considered due to injury.
The two squads will assemble in Cape Town on Sunday, where they will prepare separately in their respective “bio-bubble environments” ahead of the October 3 clash at Newlands.
Springbok Green squad:
Props: Ox Nche*, Thomas du Toit**, Trevor Nyakane**, Luan de Bruin
Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi**, Schalk Erasmus
Locks: JD Schickerling, Hyron Andrews, Oupa Mohoje*
Looseforwards: Siya Kolisi**, Arno Botha8, Duane Vermeulen**, Junior Pokomela, Juarno Augustus
Scrumhalves: Sanele Nohamba, Embrose Papier*
Flyhalves: Elton Jantjies**, Manie Libbok
Centres: Frans Steyn**, Wandisile Simelane, Jeremy Ward
Springbok Gold squad:
Props: Steven Kitshoff**, Dylan Smith, Frans Malherbe**, Ruan Dreyer
Hookers: Scarra Ntubeni*, Dylan Richardson
Locks: Salmaan Moerat, Marvin Orie*, Jason Jenkins*
Looseforwards: Marco van Staden*, Nizaam Carr*, Sikhumbuzo Notshe*; Vincent Tshituka, James Venter
Scrumhalves: Herschel Jantjies**, Jaden Hendrikse
Flyhalves: Damian Willemse**, Curwin Bosch*
Centres: Rikus Pretorius, Lukhanyo Am**, Werner Kok, Manuel Rass
Outside backs: Sergeal Petersen, Rosko Specman, Warrick Gelant**
** denotes Springbok RWC squad members
*denotes capped Springbok test players
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