Rugby-Championship

Springboks add to their Rugby championship squad

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The Springboks have added loose forward Marco van Staden of the Bulls to their training group preparing for the opening Rugby Championship match against the Wallabies in Johannesburg.

The Springbok squad has been training in a preparation camp in Pretoria.

Van Staden has been drafted in as cover for Siya Kolisi and will remain in camp until there is absolute clarity about whether Kolisi will be able to take part in the initial stages of the Rugby Championship. Kolisi injured his knee in the Super Rugby competition and is continuing with his rehabilitation in camp.

Kolisi will in all likelihood miss the opening Tests of the Rugby Championship, in Johannesburg against Australia and in Wellington against New Zealand, in the next three weeks.

According to Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, the Boks won’t rush Kolisi back into action: “We will probably a bit conservative with Siya to make sure he is ready for the Rugby World Cup, which is the most important part of the year.

“We will wait for the results of his scans on Friday, and then we will take it from there and see what the return to play protocol will be.

“Siya will be training with us until we leave for New Zealand and then he will probably stay behind to play one or two Currie Cup games. Thereafter, we plan to get him back into playing Test match rugby, hopefully in the match against Argentina (in Pretoria on 17 August), and then it’s on the plane with us to Japan.

“I think if we push him now to go with us to New Zealand, we might end up with more than a 50 percent chance that he won’t go with us to the World Cup,” Erasmus explained.

In the injury-absence of Kolisi, Erasmus indicated that he will consider more than one captain to lead the Springboks in their opening matches of the international season.

“We have a few players who need game time, who we want to consider for captaincy,” said Erasmus.

“Eben Etzebeth (if he is cleared to play) and Pieter-Steph du Toit haven’t played a lot lately – both need game time and might be considered for the captaincy, while we also have the likes of Duane Vermeulen, Steven Kitshoff and Malcolm Marx, all of whom have captained their respective franchise teams this season.”

Erasmus said that he intends to make a call on the captaincy as early as next week: “Depending how things will go after Siya’s scan results and Eben’s X-ray, we will make that call on Monday. We have some good options compared to last year in terms of candidates for the captaincy.”

The Springboks will kick off their shortened Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday, 20 July, against the Wallabies in Johannesburg, which will be followed a week later by the keenly awaited rematch with New Zealand in Wellington.

The Boks will conclude their official campaign against Argentina two weeks later, on Saturday, 10 August, in Salta, while the same two teams are set to meet again a week later in Pretoria in a once-off Test before the Boks report for Rugby World Cup training duty.

The updated Springbok training group in Pretoria is:

Forwards:

Schalk Brits ( Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Ulster, Ireland), Lood de Jager ( Bulls), Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Lizo Gqoboka ( Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane ( Bulls), Marvin Orie (Lions), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman ( Bulls), Marco van Staden ( Bulls), Duane Vermeulen ( Bulls).

Backs:

Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Andre Esterhuizen (Sharks), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions), Warrick Gelant ( Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel ( Bulls), Dillyn Lleyds (Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Sibusiso Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard ( Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France).

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