RUGBY NEWS - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee added four uncapped players to the tour squad for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour - including exciting backs Warrick Gelant and Lukhanyo Am.
Coetzee added Sharks No8 Dan du Preez and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder to the squad of 34 while Coenie Oosthuizen returns from injury to join his team-mates.
Uzair Cassiem returns from injury, while Francois Venter and Oupa Mohoje add to the Toyota Cheetahs contingent in the squad, with Venter making his first appearance since last year's end of the year tour.
Tendai Mtawarira is also back after missing the test against New Zealand because of personal reasons.
Du Preez and Schreuder were part of the greater squad for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship while Gelant forced his way in after a number of impressive performances for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in this year's Currie Cup.
With his deceptive running lines, his pace and try-scoring abilities, Gelant was always a favourite for selection and there is hope that he would be able to inject some speed and direction into the Bok running lines.
Am gets his chance thanks to an impressive season with the Sharks, and has been knocking on the door for some time now. There is a lot of excitement to see what he can do at international level.
Jan Serfontein misses the tour as an agreement with his French club, Montpellier, but there is no place for Lions midfielder Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who has also had a strong Super Rugby and Currie Cup season.
Gelant, who played for the Junior Springboks and Springbok Sevens teams, will accompany the Boks on tour for the first time following impressive performances this year.
With the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan in mind, the forthcoming tour will give Springbok coach Allister Coetzee the ideal opportunity to broaden his player base and expose more young talent to the Bok environment and the rigorous pressures of test match rugby.
“This squad reflects consistency and continuity, while we also rewarded players who have constantly shown good form this season,” explained Coetzee.
“Warrick and Lukhanyo are two examples of players who have excelled in the season so far. It’s great to have them in the squad and I look forward to working with them, but at the same time I feel sorry for Sbu Nkosi in particular – he had an impressive debut senior season and it is unfortunate that he will miss the tour because of his elbow injury."
Flanker Jean-Luc du Preez, who sustained an ankle injury sustained in the Currie Cup final on Saturday, will undergo an MRI scan on Monday and his inclusion in the squad is subject to the results of the scan and the orthopaedic opinion. The decision to call for a possible replacement, if needed, will depend on the outcome of the scan and orthopaedic opinion.
“With the World Cup now less than two years away, this demanding tour gives us another very good opportunity to keep on building depth and experience.
“Eight new players were capped so far this season and a total of 19 new international players made their Springbok debuts since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and we’ve also had a number of new Springbok captains since then. Our process to rebuild the Bok team and steadily working towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan is continuing at a good and satisfying pace."
Coetzee said he would also like to see continuous improvement and progress, building on the foundations laid so far this year.
“So far this season, this group has shown a genuine willingness to evolve and they continuously strive to be better players within our environment,” said Coetzee.
“Ireland, France, Italy and Wales will each be a huge contest, however, we are looking forward to the challenge in different conditions.”
Eben Etzebeth will continue to lead the side in the injury-absence of Warren Whiteley while Coetzee also announced that Siya Kolisi will return to Cape Town after the test against France in Paris on 18 November as his wife, Rachel, is due to give birth the following week. He will not be available for the test against Italy on 25 November in Padova, but will re-join the group for the final tour match in Cardiff against Wales.