Final preparations for Bok squad before World Cup announcement

The final Springbok Test before the World Cup has been played, and now the guessing game begins regarding the players Bok coach Rassie Erasmus will name in the 31-man squad to go to Japan on Monday afternoon. 36 players remain in the Bok camp. It must have been a veritable roller-coaster ride of emotions for a player like poor Scarra Ntubeni who waited 6 years for his debut Test after being called up to the Springbok squad for the end-of-year tour in 2013 without playing a match. Less than 24 hours after he finally made his debut off the bench, he’s been released from the squad and one wonders if that’s the end of his World Cup dream. The same goes for Wilco Louw, Dillyn Leyds and Marco van Staden. The fate of the injured Marcell Coetzee also hangs in the balance. They all do appear to be surplus to Erasmus’s needs. For five of the players now in camp in Bloemfontein, shattering news awaits them as Erasmus prunes his squad down to 31. Let the fun and games begin predicting who’s in for the chop. – David O’Sullivan

From SARugby

The Springbok training squad of 36 players assembled in Bloemfontein on Sunday for a four-day Rugby World Cup camp in Bloemfontein as part of the Boks’ preparations for the global tournament which starts next month in Japan.

The group consists of players who were part of the Springboks’ recent successful Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign and the Farewell Test against Argentina in Pretoria.

The camp is designed to refocus the group on the Rugby World Cup campaign. The announcement of the 31-man squad takes place on Monday, 26 August, at 15h00 in Johannesburg.

Apart from a few team building exercises, the Springbok coaches and conditioning staff will put the training squad through some field sessions and a series of technical activities as the Boks continue to refine their plan for Japan.

Four players who were part of the match-23 that played against Argentina in Pretoria on Saturday, were released back to their provinces for Currie Cup duty.

The four are the DHL Western Province trio of Wilco Louw (prop), Scarra Ntubeni (hooker) and Dillyn Leyds (wing), as well as Vodacom Blue Bulls loose forward Marco van Staden.

Ulster loose forward Marcell Coetzee, who went off early against the Pumas with a head knock and ankle injury, did not travel to Bloemfontein.

The Springbok group will have a few closed practice sessions in the Free State capital before breaking camp on Thursday, after which the 31-man squad will then gather in Johannesburg for the official announcement of the RWC squad.

The 36-man Springbok squad who have assembled for the RWC camp in Bloemfontein are:

Forwards (21): Schalk Brits (Vodacom Bulls), Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls), Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), Lizo Gqoboka (Vodacom Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), Marvin Orie (Emirates Lions), Kwagga Smith (Emirates Lions), RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls).

Backs (15): Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France).