Four players added to Bok squad
Four players have been called up to the Springbok squad of 30 for the final two tests of The Castle Rugby Championship, in South Africa against Australia and New Zealand.
The four new faces in the squad who did not tour to Australasia, are the uncapped MTN Golden Lions duo of Jaco Taute (utility back) and Elton Jantjies (flyhalf), their experienced provincial teammate CJ van der Linde (prop) and Coenie Oosthuizen (prop) from the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.
“I’d always wanted to include Jaco in the squad but an untimely injury meant we could not select him earlier. Jaco is big, strong, fast and versatile and it will be good to get him involved,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Elton was part of the squad before this season, against England in June and in the first part of The Castle Rugby Championship. He only missed out when we had to cut the numbers of the squad and it’s good to have him back.
“CJ, who took part in our training camps earlier in the season, brings a lot of experience to our pack and he is no longer injured. Apart from being the second most experienced prop in Springbok history, after Os du Randt, he is versatile and can play loosehead and tighthead.
“And it’s great to have Coenie back with us after he picked up an injury on debut in the first test against England in June. He is a world class prop and losing him was a big setback.”
Meyer added only two scrumhalves had been selected for the tests, which meant Jano Vermaak misses out. The national selectors felt that Vermaak is familiar with the game plan and can easily be brought back in should his services be required.
The following players, who were part of the squad earlier in the season, were not considered for selection because of injury: JP Pietersen, Bjorn Basson, Pierre Spies, Siya Kolisi, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bismarck du Plessis.
Commenting on the final two tests of The Castle Rugby Championship, Meyer said: “There were a number of positives we took from the matches in Perth and Dunedin and it is imperative that we build on those.
“The tests against Australia and New Zealand won’t be easy -- the All Blacks are unbeaten this year and the Wallabies have done well to win their last two matches, so we will have to be at our best at Loftus Versfeld and Soccer City.
“But I’m happy with the progress we’ve made on tour and the big challenge will be to now take the next step as we grow as a team.”
SPRINGBOK SQUAD: Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Craig Burden, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Juandré Kruger, Pat Lambie, Tiaan Liebenberg, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo, Coenie Oosthuizen, Ruan Pienaar, Jacques Potgieter, Frans Steyn, Morné Steyn, Adriaan Strauss, Jaco Taute, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen