South Africa Springboks training squad named for exciting 2024 season


South Africa Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus has unveiled a dynamic squad of 35 players for the team’s first official training camp of the season, set to commence in Pretoria on Monday.

This camp will focus on preparing for the opening Test of the season against Wales on June 22 in London.

The Springboks are gearing up for a blockbuster 2024 season, starting with the Wales clash. Erasmus’ squad features a blend of seasoned veterans from the 2023 and 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning teams and a promising group of 11 uncapped players.

The uncapped players include Jordan Hendrikse, Quan Horn, Edwill van der Merwe, and Morne van den Berg (all from the Emirates Lions), Phepsi Buthelezi, Siya Masuku, and Ethan Hooker (from the Hollywoodbets Sharks), as well as Ben-Jason Dixon, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Neethling Fouche, and Andre-Hugo Venter (from the DHL Stormers). These players have shown exceptional form in their respective competitions this season.

Notably, players based in Europe, the UK, and Ireland are not being considered for the first Test against Wales at Twickenham. Similarly, players from the Vodacom Bulls, who have advanced to the semi-final of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, are also excluded from this squad.

The squad comprises 19 forwards and 16 backs. Rugby World Cup-winning flyhalf Handre Pollard and No. 8 Jasper Wiese (currently serving a six-week ban) are included in the group. While they will train with the team, they will only be available for selection after the Wales Test.

Erasmus has also included a local contingent from the newly crowned EPCR Challenge Cup champions, the Hollywoodbets Sharks, the Emirates Lions, whose Vodacom URC seasons concluded at the pool stages last weekend, and the DHL Stormers, who were eliminated from the competition by the Glasgow Warriors. Additionally, players from Japan have been named in the squad.

The only players who did not participate in the Springbok alignment sessions in March and May or the virtual alignment camp in early May are Ethan Hooker and Edwill van der Merwe.

“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 Erasmus. “We’ve been following all their performances closely, and we are pleased with the enthusiasm they showed and their willingness to learn.”

Erasmus emphasized the importance of blooding new players as the team builds toward the future, including the 2027 World Cup in Australia. He noted the success of integrating new talent in the lead-up to the 2023 World Cup and plans to continue this strategy.

“There are always a few unlucky players who missed out on selection this time, but the door will always be open for them to be called up if the need arises,” Erasmus added.

Steven Kitshoff, Lood de Jager, and Jaden Hendrikse are among the players not considered for the squad due to injury.

Following the Wales Test, the Springboks will play in the Castle Lager Incoming Series with back-to-back Tests against Ireland in Pretoria and Durban on July 6 and 13, and a historic first Test against Portugal in Bloemfontein on July 20.

The Springboks will then compete in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship against Australia in Brisbane and Perth on August 10 and 17, followed by consecutive matches against New Zealand in Johannesburg and Cape Town on August 31 and September 7. They will then travel to Argentina to face the Pumas in Santiago on September 21 and in Nelspruit on September 28.

The year will conclude with the traditional year-end tour featuring Tests against Scotland in Edinburgh on November 9, England in London on November 16, and Wales in Cardiff on November 23.

Springbok Training Squad (in alphabetical order):

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

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

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