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Kolisi to miss Twickenham Test as weakened Springboks face Wales

By AFP

June 9, 2024 05:49 PM


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South Africa captain Siya Kolisi is one 12 players from the matchday 23 who won the Rugby World Cup last year who will not be considered for a one-off Test against Wales at Twickenham on June 22, SA Rugby announced on Sunday.

Just 11 of the side that edged New Zealand 12-11 at the Stade de France in October will be available after injuries, club commitments and retirement ruled out the other 12.

"Players based in Europe, the UK and Ireland will not be considered for the Boks’ first Test of the season against Wales at Twickenham," SA Rugby said in a statement.

Kolisi moved to Paris after the World Cup triumph to join Racing92 who on Saturday qualified for next week's Top 14 play-offs, with the semi-finals on the same weekend as the Wales Test.

The match is taking place outside the international window so teams beyond South Africa do not have to release players.

With the Japanese season completed, however, eight South Africans based there were selected by head coach Rassie Erasmus on Sunday.

Veteran lock Eben Etzebeth is considered a strong candidate to skipper the world champion Springboks in a match that serves as a warm-up for two home Tests against Ireland during July.

Erasmus, who played different but key coaching roles in the 2019 and 2023 World Cup triumphs, named 18 forwards and 17 backs for a training camp in Pretoria, which begins on Monday.

He included fly-half Handre Pollard and No. 8 Jasper Wiese, but neither will be considered for Twickenham.

Wiese, the likely successor to retired Duane Vermeulen in the back row, was hit with a six-Test ban after being sent off in an English Premiership match, and it starts against Wales.

Pollard was a key figure in the 2023 World Cup triumph. Initially ruled out of the tournament by injury, he was called up when hooker Malcolm Marx was sidelined.

The playmaker did not miss a single kick at goal in tense, one-point knockout victories over hosts France, England and New Zealand.

With Pollard out of the reckoning for Twickenham, Manie Libbok and uncapped pair Siya Masuku and Jordan Hendrikse will be the fly-half contenders. 

 11 uncapped players 

Hendrikse and Masuku are among 11 uncapped players in the squad. Another is hooker Andre-Hugo Venter, a son of Springbok legend Andre Venter.

"We gained immense value by granting a few players a chance to prove what they can do at international level in the years leading up to the 2023 World Cup," said Erasmus.

"Some of the players who made their Test debuts were members of the squad that lifted the trophy in Paris, and we feel it is important that we continue blooding new players.

"Having them in camp and working closely with them on the field will set them and the team in good stead as we start laying the foundations for the 2027 World Cup in Australia."

After Wales, South Africa host Ireland - the only team to beat them at the 2023 World Cup - and Portugal in July, following that with six Rugby Championship matches against Australia, arch rivals New Zealand and Argentina in August and September.

The four-time world champions then take on Scotland, England and Wales during a November tour of Europe.

 Training squad

Forwards

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

Backs

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


AFP


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