Springboks

Coetzee names Bok squad for France series

Allister Coetzee (Gallo)
Allister Coetzee (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Tuesday named a 31-man squad for a three-Test series against France in June.

Warren Whiteley was named as the 58th Springbok captain and will get his first opportunity to lead the team when a much-changed squad, which includes eight uncapped players, gets together for the series at a training camp in Plettenberg Bay next week.

The national selectors also recalled six experienced players to the squad. They are Rugby World Cup winner Frans Steyn, Jan Serfontein, Francois Hougaard, Duane Vermeulen, Coenie Oosthuizen and Chiliboy Ralepelle. They have more than 200 Test caps of experience between them.

Of the eight uncapped players in the squad, six are backs and two play in the forwards. They are Lukhanyo Am, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Dillyn Leyds, Raymond Rhule, Courtnall Skosan, Ruan Dreyer and Lizo Gqoboka.

Four of these, Rhule, Cronje, Dreyer and Gqoboka have previously toured with the Boks, but are yet to play in a Test match for South Africa.

The Springboks will face France on Saturday, June 10 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, followed by Tests at Kings Park in Durban (June 17) and Ellis Park in Johannesburg (June 24).

Whiteley succeeds Adriaan Strauss, who retired from Test rugby at the end of last season.

The 31-man Springbok squad will assemble on Monday, May 29 for a week-long camp in Plettenberg Bay before moving camp to Pretoria where they will fine-tune final preparations for the first Test.

Steyn, who plays for French side Montpellier and was a member of the 2007 Rugby World Cup winning squad, last featured in a Springbok Test in 2012, while Ralepelle is back in the Bok squad after four years - his last Test was in 2013.

Serfontein was injured and missed the entire 2016 season, while Oosthuizen, who played in 23 Tests between 2012 and 2015, is also back in the squad having fully recovered from his injuries.

Vermeulen featured in only two Tests in 2016 before suffering an injury during the home series against Ireland, while Hougaard returns after missing the outgoing tour to the United Kingdom and Italy at the end of 2016 due to injury.

Flyhalf Pat Lambie is still symptomatic following his concussion. After discussions with the player and the medical teams of both the Springboks and the Sharks, it was decided not to consider him for selection for the Springbok squad.
 
Apart from Lambie, the following players were not considered for Springbok and SA ‘A’ selection because of injury, or as stated otherwise: JC van Rensburg (prop, Stormers), Julian Redelinghuys (prop, Lions), Francois Louw (flank, Bath, UK), Roelof Smit (flank Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (flank, Ulster, Ireland), Handre Pollard (flyhalf, Bulls), Jean-Luc du Plessis (flyhalf, Stormers), Kurt Coleman (flyhalf, Stormers), Robert du Preez (flyhalf, Stormers), Howard Mnisi (centre, Lions), Rohan Janse van Rensburg (centre, Lions), Nico Lee (centre, Cheetahs), Leolin Zas (wing, Stormers), Curwin Bosch (flyhalf, Sharks, Junior Springboks), Andre Esterhuizen (centre, Sharks, suspended) and RG Snyman (lock, Bulls, suspended).

Springbok squad:

Forwards

Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Ruan Dreyer, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Lizo Gqoboka, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley (captain)

Backs

Lukhanyo Am, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Damian de Allende, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Rudy Paige, Raymond Rhule, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Frans Steyn

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