Callow Bok squad on cards for June

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus.
Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus could pick as many as 16 uncapped players in his 45-man squad for June internationals against Wales and England.

Erasmus has stressed the need for a large group as he will field two vastly different teams against Wales in Washington on June 2‚ and the first Test against England at Ellis Park a week later.

The squad‚ which will be announced on Saturday‚ will be trimmed to a more manageable 30 players after the first Test against England.

Although it’s understood that the rule barring the selection of players with fewer than 30 caps has unofficially been rescinded‚ the only likely beneficiary is Sale Sharks scrumhalf Faf de Klerk who has 11 caps.

It is unlikely there will be room for Saracens prop Vincent Koch with Wilco Louw‚ Frans Malherbe and Thomas du Toit making up the tighthead trio. Other overseas-based players set to be included are No 8 Duane Vermeulen‚ flank Francois Louw‚ hooker Bismarck du Plessis‚ fullback Willie le Roux and centre Frans Steyn as Erasmus looks to balance the callow squad with some experienced heads.

Incumbent captain Eben Etzebeth is also set to be included even though he hasn’t played any rugby since injuring his shoulder against Wales last November.

Etzebeth has been training with the Stormers for three weeks though. He won’t be included for this weekend’s game against the Lions at Newlands but is close to full fitness.

On Monday night Erasmus told TV show SuperRugby that he would spring some surprises.

“I think there will be a few surprises but I’m really going to try for a balance. I’m not going to pick conservatively‚” Erasmus said.

“We’ll be training together as a group on Sunday‚ Monday‚ Tuesday and Wednesday. And then on Thursday and Friday 26 guys will go to America‚ with a few guys staying behind to prepare for England.

“But I’m really excited‚ there will be a few guys getting their first (Test) caps.

"There are young guys who deserve a chance. Of course‚ there will be a few older guys who have experience‚ but the young guys will also get exposure.”

Lions wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and Madosh Tambwe along with Sharks flyer S’bu Nkosi are all set for their first taste of Test rugby.

Giant Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen‚ who has been in superb form this season is another likely debutant with his teammate‚ flyhalf Rob du Preez.

Bulls poacher Roelof Smit is in line for a deserved first Test cap nearly two years after coming close to his debut. Smit played for the Boks against the Barbarians on their November 2016 UK tour and was set to start against England the following week.

But injury ruled him out of the tour before the England match and he’s only just come back to form and fitness.

Stormers back rower Sikhumbuzo Notshe could be one of the surprise packages in the mix‚ as the coaches like his mobility and ability to cover more ground defensively.

Bulls lock Jason Jenkins is another likely inclusion with injuries ruling out Lood de Jager and JD Schickerling.

Scrumhalf is an area of callow depth with the Bulls’ duo of Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier and Sharks halfback Cameron Wright set to be included.

Possible squad:

Back – Fullbacks: Willie le Roux‚ Warrick Gelant‚ Curwin Bosch. Wings: Aphiwe Dyantyi*‚ Makazola Mapimpi*‚ S’bu Nkosi*‚ Travis Ismaiel*‚ Madosh Tambwe*. Centres: Lukhanyo Am‚ Damian de Allende‚ Jesse Kriel‚ Andre Esterhuizen*‚ Frans Steyn‚ Lionel Mapoe.

Flyhalves: Rob du Preez*‚ Elton Jantjies‚ Handré Pollard. Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk‚ Louis Schreuder‚ Ivan van Zyl*‚ Cameron Wright*‚ Embrose Papier*.

Looseforwards: Jean-Luc du Preez‚ Daniel du Preez‚ Siya Kolisi‚ Roelof Smit*‚ Sikhumbuzo Notshe*‚ Francois Louw‚ Duane Vermeulen.

Locks: Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ Franco Mostert‚ RG Snyman*‚ Jason Jenkins*‚ Eben Etzebeth. Props: Thomas du Toit*‚ Steven Kitshoff‚ Tendai Mtawarira‚ Trevor Nyakane‚ Wilco Louw‚ Frans Malherbe‚ Ox Nche*.

Hookers: Chiliboy Ralepelle‚ Akker van der Merwe*‚ Bismarck du Plessis‚ Bongi Mbonambi.

Not considered due to injury: Warren Whiteley‚ Marcel Coetzee‚ Lood de Jager‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Jan Serfontein‚ Coenie Oosthuizen.

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