Forced to trim his 30-man squad down to 26 for the Rugby Championship trip to Argentina, Bok coach Heyneke Meyer has released a number of players to the Currie Cup – as well as calling up two fresh faces.
An interesting “quirk” in the agreement that allows Fourie du Preez to play for the Boks prohibits him from touring – not sure I quite understand that one, since he’s clearly not going back to Japan this week – meaning a late call-up for Cheetahs man Piet van Zyl to join the scrumhalf ranks. That’s the only change affecting the match 23 from Saturday’s rout at Soccer City, while Meyer has opted to add Marcell Coetzee, Jano Vermaak and Lourens Adriaanse to the tour party as well.
Adriaanse was a part of the squad in mid-year, but didn’t manage to get onto the field and was something of a surprise omissions when the group initially names contained oodles of loose-heads and barley anyone on the opposite side. He now gets his chance, albeit under somewhat unfortunate circumstances, with the Cheetahs’ Trevor Nyakane dropped from the squad for disciplinary reasons; we’re told that his “repeated breaches of team protocol” are the cause; apparently he’s missed video sessions and flights.
Coetzee very nearly didn’t make the squad at all; his place was due to go to Chiliboy Ralepelle, but the latter has had to withdraw due to injury. It’s a pretty sad indictment on how far the Sharks flanker’s shares have fallen with Meyer and he may secretly be wishing that he’d instead been offered some Currie Cup game time to play his way back into contention.
Those omitted from the squad will be allowed to play Currie Cup, but with Nyakane, Franco van der Merwe and Juan de Jongh the only affected players actually contracted to local teams, it’s hardly a big injection. It’s not clear what Zane Kirchner will do while the others are on tour.
The 26-man Springbok squad to Argentina:
Forwards (15): Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Juandré Kruger, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.
Backs (11): Bjorn Basson, Jean de Villiers (captain), JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Ruan Pienaar, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn, Piet van Zyl, Jano Vermaak.Tweet