Green and Gold squad draft throws up interesting combinations

Newly appointed Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber (R) and the Director of South African Rugby, Rassie Erasmus (L) pose for a picture following his announcement as the Springbok head coach at the Southern Sun Hotel in Pretoria on January 24, 2020.
Newly appointed Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber (R) and the Director of South African Rugby, Rassie Erasmus (L) pose for a picture following his announcement as the Springbok head coach at the Southern Sun Hotel in Pretoria on January 24, 2020.
Image: Phill Magakoe / AFP

Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber showed exactly how they rate the talent in the country when the Green and Gold squads were revealed for next weekend’s Springbok Showdown at Newlands.

They selected 25-man squads for the occasion via a live draft pick – the first of its kind in South African rugby history.

The squads include 13 members of the Rugby World Cup-winning squad from last year‚ as well as some Blitzboks and Junior Boks.

Erasmus‚ the SA Rugby director of rugby‚ and Nienaber‚ the Springbok head coach‚ selected the Green and Gold squads that will be coached by Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids respectively.

The squads‚ compiled from players based in South Africa‚ could throw up some interesting combinations.

The Green Squad could at some point field a front row axis of Ox Nché‚ Bongi Mbonambi and Trevor Nyakane against the Gold Squad’s more grizzled all Stormers unit of Steven Kitshoff‚ Scarra Ntubeni and Frans Malherbe.

Frans Steyn operating in concert with Wandisile Simelane in midfield may be something worth tuning into in the Green Squad‚ as will the prospect of Embrose Papier servicing Elton Jantjies.

The Gold Squad have some collective mongrel in their second row with Salman Moerat‚ Marvin Orie and Jason Jenkins as their options. They will be up against more mobile adversaries in JD Schickerling‚ Hyron Andrews and Oupa Mohoje.

Bok captain Siya Kolisi is in the Green Squad along with trusty lieutenant Duane Vermeulen‚ but they will have their hands full with more youthful opposition in the Gold Squad.

“The draft picks exercise was a refreshing way to select the two squads for the game‚” explained Erasmus.

“Myself‚ Jacques and the coaches thoroughly enjoyed the exercise‚ but the tension of picking squads on live television wasn’t good for the nerves.”

Erasmus added that the Springboks’ brains trust grabbed the unique opportunity to cast the net very wide in order to compile the original list of 93‚ and then whittling it down to 50 on Friday evening.

The enlarged player group were identified during Super Rugby and the PRO14 action earlier in the year‚ and last year’s Currie Cup‚ while the younger players on the list have been part of SA Rugby’s Elite Player Development (EPD) programme in the last couple of years.

A number of players who are currently injured were not considered for the match‚ including World Rugby and SA Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers‚ loose forward)‚ as well as World Cup-winner Sbu Nkosi (Sharks‚ wing)‚ Aphelele Fassi (Sharks‚ fullback) and Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls‚ prop).

Erasmus said the players were picked from a very dynamic draft list and he thanked the franchise teams for their collaboration during the entire identification‚ monitoring and drafting process.

The two squads and management members will assemble in Cape Town on Sunday‚ September 27‚ where they will prepare their matchday preparations separately from each other in their respective “bio-bubble environments”.

The Springbok Showdown draft squads are:

Springbok Green squad:

Props: Ox Nche‚ Thomas du Toit‚ Trevor Nyakane‚ Luan de Bruin

Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi‚ Schalk Erasmus

Locks: JD Schickerling‚ Hyron Andrews‚ Oupa Mohoje

Looseforwards: Siya Kolisi‚ Arno Botha‚ Duane Vermeulen‚ Junior Pokomela‚ Juarno Augustus

Scrumhalves: Sanele Nohamba‚ Embrose Papier

Flyhalves: Elton Jantjies‚ Manie Libbok

Centres: Frans Steyn‚ Wandisile Simelane‚ Jeremy Ward

Outside backs: Seabelo Senatla‚ Yaw Penxe‚ Gianni Lombard‚ Malcolm Jaer

Springbok Gold squad:

Props: Steven Kitshoff‚ Dylan Smith‚ Frans Malherbe‚ Ruan Dreyer

Hookers: Scarra Ntubeni‚ Dylan Richardson

Locks: Salmaan Moerat‚ Marvin Orie‚ Jason Jenkins

Looseforwards: Marco van Staden‚ Nizaam Carr‚ Sikhumbuzo Notshe; Vincent Tshituka‚ James Venter

Scrumhalves: Herschel Jantjies‚ Jaden Hendrikse

Flyhalves: Damian Willemse‚ Curwin Bosch

Centres: Rikus Pretorius‚ Lukhanyo Am‚ Werner Kok‚ Manuel Rass

Outside backs: Sergeal Petersen‚ Rosko Specman‚ Warrick Gelant

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