Three new faces in Springbok squad

IN THE SQUAD: Courtnall Skosan (wing), Emirates Lions who played in three caps for the Springboks has been selected. Photo: Gordon Arons.

Promising young flyhalf Curwin Bosch, No 8 Dan du Preez and fullback Warrick Gelant were included in the 34-man Springbok squad for the start of the 2017 Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign. The 22-year old Du Preez is the twin brother of Springbok loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez.

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, announced his squad on August 5 and said he is pleased with the largely unchanged squad, which allows for greater continuity and consistency.

“Our players must be well-conditioned, match-fit and also be able to make good on-field decisions. We are also looking for continuity, experience and combinations – all elements which I believe are reflected in the current squad selection,” said Coetzee.

The Springbok group gets together on Tuesday in Port Elizabeth to start their preparations for the 2017 campaign, which kicks off there on August 19 against Argentina at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Coetzee furthermore praised the good form of the Bok players during the French series and the Vodacom Super Rugby competition, which has allowed him to keep squad changes to a minimum.

“All of the Springboks who were in action in the June Tests and the latter part of the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign played very well and I have no doubt that they will bring that form with them when we assemble,” said Coetzee.

“Some players have initially missed out on selection due to various reasons, but this squad is not cast in stone and changes can be made as we progress through the tournament.

“I always said it must be difficult for a player to force himself into the squad, and I am really pleased that through their performances they have again earned selection to the Springbok group.”

The uncapped trio of Bosch, Du Preez and Gelant, as well as experienced prop Trevor Nyakane, flanker Uzair Cassiem and flyhalf Handré Pollard, are the only players in the squad that were not part of the Springboks’ 3-0 Test series win over France in June.

Coetzee emphasised that the Castle Lager Rugby Championship will pose a different challenge to the Boks over the next two months.

“The next six contests will be completely different to what we faced against France in June,” said the Bok coach.

No 8 Warren Whiteley was withdrawn because of his groin injury, which will most likely keep him out of action for six more weeks. Whiteley captained the Boks in the first two tests against France and missed the final match in Johannesburg because of his groin problem, which also forced him to miss the rest of the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.

“Warren’s absence is a massive blow for the Springboks and for him personally. I really feel for him but I am sure he will get back stronger. It gives an opportunity for another player now and I am sure there will be very strong competition for the No 8 jersey.”

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  AUTHOR
Annette van Schalkwyk
Sports journalist

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