32 Boks in camp: Which player faces World Cup chop?

Rassie Erasmus (Supplied)
Rassie Erasmus (Supplied)

Cape Town - There are 32 players remaining in the Springbok squad for a four-day World Cup training camp in Bloemfontein.

This comes after it was confirmed on Monday that four players - Lizo Gqoboka (prop, Blue Bulls), Marvin Orie (lock, Golden Lions), Thomas du Toit (prop, Sharks) and Andre Esterhuizen (centre, Sharks) - were released for Currie Cup duty.

It followed Sunday's announced that Marco van Staden (flank, Blue Bulls) and the Western Province trio of Wilco Louw (prop), Scarra Ntubeni (hooker) and Dillyn Leyds (wing) were also released back to their provinces.

The Boks on Monday also announced that loose forward Marcell Coetzee had been ruled out of the World Cup with an ankle injury.

So, with only 32 players remaining in camp, one can assume that coach Rassie Erasmus is close to finalising his 31-man World Cup squad.

It appears unlikely that the players released for Currie Cup duty will be able to force their way back in, which means Erasmus will have to cut one player from the current squad of 32.

The squad has an 18-14 forwards-backs split and deciding which player to cull will no doubt be a tough call to make.

Coetzee's injury may well have been good news for loose forwards Kwagga Smith, Rynhardt Elstadt and Francois Louw, who may all crack the nod as back-ups for the first-choice loose forward combination of Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen.

Erasmus has indicated that he'll take three specialist hookers which means Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi and Schalk Brits already have their tickets booked for Japan.

The idea of taking only two specialist scrumhalves - with utility back Cheslin Kolbe as a possible back-up - has been mentioned in some circles but Erasmus said he will not take that risk, meaning Cobus Reinach will join Faf de Klerk and Herschel Jantjies in the squad.

Erasmus could also decide to take only three specialist locks - Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert and RG Snyman, with Du Toit providing back-up in the second row. This scenario could see Lood de Jager miss out.

The Bok mentor may also decide whether he wants to take four or five props. Steven Kitshoff and Beast Mtawarira are the looseheads, with Frans Malherbe, Trevor Nyakane and Vincent Koch the options at tighthead. If Erasmus decides on only four props, then Koch may be the unlucky one.

Damian de Allende, Frans Steyn, Lukhanyo Am and Jesse Kriel are the midfielders and it's unlikely for any of them to miss out.

Steyn can also cover at flyhalf, but Erasmus will not risk taking only one specialist pivot meaning Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies can pack their bags for Japan.

Wingers Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi and S'bu Nkosi will all go, while the two options at fullback are Willie le Roux and Warrick Gelant.

Here, Gelant could be the one to miss out as the versatile Kolbe is able to slot in at fullback.

Erasmus will name his 31-man World Cup squad next Monday (August 26).

The remaining 32-man Springbok squad for a training camp in Bloemfontein:

Forwards (18)

Schalk Brits (Bulls), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)

Backs (14)

Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), S'bu Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)

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