Nine uncapped players, six of whom have not been part of the national set-up before, have been included in a 34-man Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series involving Italy, Samoa and Scotland later this month.
The six newcomers are the GWK Griquas duo Lourens Adriaanse and Willie le Roux, Trevor Nyakane and Pieter “Lappies” Labuschagne of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, and two members of last year’s Junior World Championship-winning SA Under-20 squad, Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (The Sharks).
The three other uncapped players in the squad are Siya Kolisi (DHL Western Province), Arno Botha and Jano Vermaak (both Vodacom Blue Bulls). Two players who only featured in one Test in 2012, Gio Aplon (DHL Western Province) and JJ Engelbrecht (Vodacom Blue Bulls), are recalled following very good performances this year.
DHL Western Province midfielder Jean de Villiers, the most experienced member of the squad with 84 Test caps retains the captaincy.
Players who were part of Springbok squads in 2012, but were not considered for selection due to injury, are JP Pietersen, Jaco Taute, Frans Steyn, Johan Goosen, Duane Vermeulen, Pat Cilliers and Frans Malherbe.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the inclusion of the six newcomers was just reward for good performances in Vodacom Super Rugby this season. He also said he was happy to keep the core of the squad that did duty for South Africa in 2012.
“The Tests in June will be tough and we’ve been hit by a number of injuries, but I’m very happy with the squad we’ve selected,” said Meyer.
“It’s never easy selecting a squad such as this one, as there are always players who are unlucky to miss out, but there will always be an opportunity to reclaim your place, as Gio and JJ had shown this season.
“Despite not playing for one of the five big unions, Lourens and Willie have grabbed their opportunities when they got a chance to play Vodacom Super Rugby, while two of their team mates at the Toyota Cheetahs, Trevor and Lappies, have also done very well this year.
“It was also good to see Jan and Pieter-Steph make the step up from the junior levels. I’ve always rated them and they’ve shone this year for the Vodacom Bulls and The Sharks.
“To have 34 players available for this series will help a lot and I have a lot of appreciation to the leadership of SARU and the provincial CEOs for allowing us this number.”
The Springbok squad will assemble in Durban on Sunday. The first Test of the Castle Later Incoming Series is next Saturday at Growthpoint Kings Park against Italy.
The Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series 2013 is:
Zane Kirchner – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Fullback
Pat Lambie – The Sharks – Flyhalf / Fullback
Gio Aplon – DHL Western Province – Wing / Fullback
Willie le Roux – Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Fullback / Wing
Lwazi Mvovo – The Sharks – Wing
Bryan Habana – DHL Western Province – Wing
Bjorn Basson – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Wing
JJ Engelbrecht – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Centre / Wing
Juan de Jongh – DHL Western Province – Centre
Jean de Villiers – DHL Western Province – Centre and Captain
Jan Serfontein – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Centre
Morné Steyn – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Flyhalf
Ruan Pienaar – Ulster, Ireland – Scrumhalf
Francois Hougaard – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Scrumhalf
Jano Vermaak – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Scrumhalf
Pierre Spies – Vodacom Blue Bulls – No 8
Willem Alberts – The Sharks – Loose forward
Arno Botha – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Loose forward
Marcell Coetzee – The Sharks – Loose forward
Siya Kolisi – DHL Western Province – Loose forward
Pieter Labuschagne – Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Loose forward
Francois Louw – Bath, England – Loose forward
Juandré Kruger – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Lock
Flip van der Merwe – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Lock
Pieter-Steph du Toit – The Sharks – Lock
Eben Etzebeth – DHL Western Province – Lock
Jannie du Plessis – The Sharks – Prop
Lourens Adriaanse – GWK Griquas – Prop
Tendai Mtawarira – The Sharks – Prop
Trevor Nyakane – Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Prop
Coenie Oosthuizen – Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Prop
Adriaan Strauss – Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Hooker
Bismarck du Plessis – The Sharks – Hooker
Chiliboy Ralepelle – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Hooker