Rugby-South Africa name training squad for upcoming tests


  • Rugby
  • Sunday, 09 Jun 2024

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa named 11 uncapped players in an expansive training squad for this month’s test against Wales, plus the two-match series against Ireland in July and a first-ever clash against Portugal.

A total of 35 players will begin preparations on Monday in Pretoria for the Springbok's first outing since winning the World Cup last October, a statement from SA Rugby on Sunday said.

The newcomers are all home-based with Jordan Hendrikse, Quan Horn, Edwill van der Merwe, Morne van den Berg from the Johannesburg-based Lions; Phepsi Buthelezi, Siya Masuku, Ethan Hooker from the Sharks in Durban and Ben-Jason Dixon, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Neethling Fouche and Andre-Hugo Venter from Cape Town’s Stormers, who lost in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship quarter-final away at Glasgow Warriors.

Players based in Europe will not be considered for the test against Wales at Twickenham on June 22, while no one from the Pretoria-based Bulls, who advanced to next weekend’s URC semi-final, was considered for the training squad.

Rugby World Cup-winning flyhalf Handre Pollard and No. 8 Jasper Wiese, who is serving a six-week ban, will be allowed to train, but only be available for selection in July, when the Springboks host Ireland in Pretoria on July 6 and in Durban one week later, plus the international against Portugal in Bloemfontein on July 20.

“We selected a group of players featuring a good mix of youth and experience, and in terms of the young players especially, we believe they have the potential to make the step-up to top international rugby,” said coach Rassie Erasmus.

“With the players based in Europe, the UK and Ireland not available for Wales, we anticipate that there will be a few players making their Test debuts in that match, but even for those who do not make the cut, having them in camp and getting the chance to work closely with them on the field will set them and the team in good stead as we prepare for this season and start laying the foundation for the 2027 World Cup in Australia,” he added.

Squad:

Backs: Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights), Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Aphelele Fassi (Sharks), Jordan Hendrikse (Lions), Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Stormers), Ethan Hooker (Sharks), Quan Horn (Lions), Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Manie Libbok (Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi, Siya Masuku (both Sharks), Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers), Morne van den Berg, Edwill van der Merwe (both Lions), Grant Williams (Sharks)

Forwards: Phepsi Buthelezi (Sharks), Joseph Dweba, Ben-Jason Dixon (both Stormers), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Eben Etzebeth (Sharks), Neethling Fouche (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Sharks), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi, Ntuthuko Mchunu (both Sharks), Salmaan Moerat (Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat), Ox Nche (Sharks), Evan Roos (Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Blu Revs), Andre-Hugo Venter (Stormers), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers).

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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