Rassie calls up five newcomers to his Springbok squad

JOHANNESBURG — Bok coach Rassie Erasmus has never been a predictable man. As a player, he was something of a maverick. As a coach, he showed some surprising yet visionary selections for the squad that defeated England 2-1 in the recent Test series. He blooded a bunch of youngsters who rose to the occasion. And he’s not stopping there. He’s called up five newcomers to his squad as the team prepares to take on Argentina, Australia and New Zealand in the 2018 Rugby Championship. The Boks open their campaign against the Pumas at Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza on Saturday 25th August. Four of the newcomers are from the Stormers, including the precocious flyhalf Damian Willemse who would surely have played a larger role in the recent under 20 World Championship had it not been for an early injury. It’s probably unlikely that the five will get game time as Erasmus has his tried-and-tested players. But anything is possible from Erasmus, and Elton Jantjies might be a little nervous seeing Willemse pull on a Bok training jersey. – David O’Sullivan

From SA Rugby

Salmaan Moerat, Marco van Staden, Damian Willemse, JD Schickerling and Cobus Wiese are the five uncapped players invited to a Springbok training camp in Stellenbosch, consisting of players from the DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls, as preparation for next month’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, confirmed that players from the Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks will join the training camp once they’ve completed their Vodacom Super Rugby commitments.

Springbok Coach Rassie Erasmus. Picture courtesy of Twitter.

DHL Stormers players Willemse (flyhalf) and Moerat (lock) both starred for the Junior Springboks earlier this year. They will be joined in Stellenbosch by their franchise team-mates Schickerling (lock) and Wiese (flank/lock), who also played for the SA Under-20s earlier in their careers, while Van Staden (loose forward) has been in great form for the Vodacom Bulls.

Also included in the training squad were the experienced Eben Etzebeth (lock), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop) and Trevor Nyakane (prop), all of whom missed the June internationals due to injury.

“I want to thank the franchise coaches for allowing their players to attend the camp, which we view as a very important part of our preparation,” explained Erasmus.

“We’re very pleased that several players got the opportunity to gain Test experience during the June internationals and we are now looking forward to working with more of our most promising players, such as Damian, Salmaan, Marco, JD and Cobus.

“It’s also good to have Eben and Coenie back with us after they’ve spent a considerable amount of time out of action because of injury. Once fit and available again, they will add considerable experience to the squad.”

The bulk of the squad will start with training this week, while a few of the Cape-based players already did some individual training activities under the watchful eye of the Springbok coaching and conditioning staff in Stellenbosch.

The following players from the DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls have been invited to the Springbok training camp in Stellenbosch (in alphabetical order):

Forwards:

Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers)

Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers)

Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers)

Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers)

Wilco Louw (DHL Stormers)

Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers)

Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers)

Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers) *

Sikhumbuzo Notshe (DHL Stormers)

Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls)

Coenie Oosthuizen (Cell C Sharks)

JD Schickerling (DHL Stormers) *

RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls)

Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) *

Cobus Wiese (DHL Stormers) *

Backs:

Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers)

Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls)

Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls)

Embrose Papier (Vodacom Bulls)

Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls)

Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Bulls)

Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) *

* Denotes uncapped players

Source: http://www.sarugby.co.za/article.aspx?category=sarugby/springboks&id=4347934