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Exciting mix named in Springbok and SA ‘A’ squads

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Former Junior Springbok backs Manie Libbok and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu earned their first Springbok call-ups on Friday, while there was a recall for Jason Jenkins, who is back in the national set-up four years after making his Test debut, as head coach Jacques Nienaber named his 35-man squad for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

South Africa ‘A’ coach Mzwandile Stick, meanwhile, included nine capped Springboks in a 19-man squad that will travel to Ireland next week Saturday for their two-match tour against Munster and the Bristol Bears, where they will be joined by seven players from Nienaber’s squad following the Springboks’ opening Test against the top-ranked team in the world, Ireland, at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday, 5 November.

This will see the Springbok squad comprise of 28 players and the SA ‘A’ team 26 players.

The Ireland Test will be followed by another three tnternationals for the Boks against France in Marseille on 12 November, Italy in Genoa on 19 November and England in London on 26 November on the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

The SA ‘A’ team, meanwhile, will face Munster on Thursday, 10 November, and the Bristol Bears on 17 November.

Libbok and Feinberg-Mngomezulu are the only uncapped players in Nienaber’s 35-man squad, Jenkins played his only Test against Wales in Washington in 2018, while Sbu Nkosi and Marco van Staden are also back in the Bok mix after last playing in the green and gold in 2021. Warrick Gelant (utility back) was not considered for selection after his club informed SA Rugby that he was not available due to passport and visa issues.

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu captained the Junior Springboks earlier this year.

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu captained the Junior Springboks earlier this year.

Stick’s SA ‘A’ team, in turn feature capped Springboks Ntuthuko Mchunu (prop), Joseph Dweba (hooker), Ruan Nortje (lock), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (loose forward), Herschel Jantjies, Grant Williams (both scrumhalves), Johan Goosen (flyhalf), Aphelele Fassi and Cornal Hendricks (both utility backs).

A flush of exciting young players, who have made their presence felt at franchise level, have also been included in the touring squad, including the likes of former Junior Bok captain Phepsi Buthelezi (loose forward), Sanele Nohamba (scrumhalf), Henco van Wyk (centre), Gianni Lombard and Suleiman Hartzenberg (both utility backs).

Summing up the composition of the exciting 54-man squad, SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus said: “This is a very important tour for both teams in terms of measuring how we perform against some of the top countries and clubs in the world and to give a wider group of players an opportunity to play at this level, less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.

“We have some exciting young talent making a strong statement for their franchises and clubs, and since we are limited to selecting only a specified number of players for the Springbok squad, we would not have been able to see some of them in action, so we are delighted to have this SA ‘A’ tour.

“This team is the closest one can get to represent the Springboks and given the quality of the Munster and Bristol teams and the electric atmospheres expected at those sold-out matches, this will be the perfect opportunity for those players to put up their hands for the World Cup squad.”

Nienaber said he tried to strike a balance between experience and exposing a few young players to the national team on this tour.

Manie Libbok in action for the Junior Boks in 2017.

Manie Libbok in action for the Junior Boks in 2017.

“We are facing three of the top five teams in the world in Ireland, France and England, and we are building our squad for the World Cup next year at the same time, so it was important to maintain consistency in selection while also rewarding a few talented young players for their steady form this season,” said Nienaber.

“The fact that a few key players were ruled out due to injury also played a role this process, but we know what we have in those players, and it has granted us an opportunity to see what the next generation of players can do at this level. This will bode well for the Rugby World Cup and beyond.”

On the selection of Libbok, Feinberg-Mngomezulu and Jenkins, Nienaber added: “Manie and Sacha have shown what they are capable of at Vodacom United Rugby Championship and Junior Springbok level, while Jason has been in fine form for Leinster, and we are thrilled to see them being called up to what is a largely settled squad.”

Stick was also excited about the group of players that will travel with the SA ‘A’ team and said: “With this group of players, we will be able to select quality match-day squads for both matches with some capped Springboks and enthusiastic, talented young players, and I cannot wait to work with this group.

“For some players this will serve as a golden opportunity to throw their names into the hat for selection for the World Cup, while others will want to reinforce the faith the Bok coaches have had in them in the last few years, and it doesn’t get more exciting than that as a coach.

“I’ve worked with some of these players at Junior Springbok level and a few more during the Green and Gold Showdown in 2020, and I have full faith in the talent within the squad and the players’ abilities.”

Jason Jenkins won his only Test cap against Wales in 2018.

Jason Jenkins won his only Test cap against Wales in 2018.

The full Springbok squad will assemble in Dublin on Monday, while the SA ‘A’ players are set to depart for Cork next weekend to begin their preparations for the midweek games, where they will be joined by some of the coaches and players from the Bok squad.

Springbok squad:

Props: Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (unattached), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92)

Hookers: Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks)

Locks: Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Jason Jenkins (Leinster), Salmaan Moerat, Marvin Orie (both DHL Stormers)

Loose forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)

Utility forwards: Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)

Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier)

Flyhalves: Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse (both DHL Stormers)

Centres: Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles)

Outside backs: Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Sbu Nkosi (Vodacom Bulls)

Utility backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers)

SA ‘A’ squad:

Forwards: Simphiwe Matanzima (Vodacom Bulls), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Cell C Sharks), Sazi Sandi (DHL Stormers), Mornay Smith (Vodacom Bulls), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Vodacom Bulls), Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers), Andre-Hugo Venter (DHL Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls), Phepsi Buthelezi (Cell C Sharks), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Cell C Sharks).

Backs: Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Sanele Nohamba (Emirates Lions), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks), Johan Goosen (Vodacom Bulls), Gianni Lombard (Emirates Lions), Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks), Cornal Hendricks (Vodacom Bulls), Suleiman Hartzenberg (DHL Stormers), Henco van Wyk (Emirates Lions).

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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Spencer looking to bring innovation to Sky Super Rugby Aupiki

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Former All Blacks and Blues first five-eighths Carlos Spencer hopes to pass on the sort of rugby that marked his career as a backs coach for the Blues women’s side in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki in 2023.

The 99-time Blues’ pivot played 44 Tests for the All Blacks and 89 games for Auckland during his career spanning the turn of the century. He also played for Northampton and Gloucester in the English Premiership.

Since building his coaching record after completing his rugby-playing career in South Africa in Gauteng, he has coached in the Republic, the United States and the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Now he has taken the chance to join head coach Willie Walker and fellow assistant coach Linda Itunu with the Blues.

Spencer, 47, said: “When I was playing, I always liked to bring a bit of innovation and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking to the table. Now, as a coach, I want to encourage and help grow those same traits in our Blues wahine.”

Like most of New Zealand, he was caught up in the Black Ferns’ World Cup success, and he anticipates there will be a follow-on effect in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki.

“You’ve seen the rise of women’s rugby and the way the public got right in behind the Black Ferns.

“We’re at an exciting juncture for the sport, and I’m looking forward to getting involved and doing what I can to help grow and support women’s rugby.”

“I’ve known Willie [Walker] for a while. We’ve thrown the touch ball around and have a good relationship. He’s done some fantastic work with the Auckland Storm in the Farah Palmer Cup, and I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas and getting the backline humming.

“I don’t know Linda, but have seen her exploits on the field for many years with the Black Ferns – she was an enforcer on the field,”

Blues chief executive Andrew Hore said having Spencer on board with the Blues organisation was special, and was an example of harnessing the resources available within the franchise’s region.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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Constructive talks between World Rugby, Erasmus

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World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin and World Rugby Director of Rugby Phil Davies met with South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus on Thursday and held positive discussions regarding recent events and match official communications in general.

Views were exchanged resulting in a better understanding of the respective positions.

There was agreement that further dialogue was needed in terms of enhancing the process that operates between teams and match officials to ensure all can play their part in creating great spectacles and avoid frustration but in a way that underpins the respect for match officials, coaches and players.

Further dialogue will continue after today’s final Springbok test of the year.

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Nienaber, Kolisi praise Boks for special win

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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi praised the team for their brave effort to earn their first win over England at Twickenham since 2014, and their first personal victories in London as they registered a rewarding 27-13 victory on Saturday.

The Boks built up an encouraging 14-3 halftime lead and managed to stretch it to 27-6 in the 57th minute before being reduced to 14 men for the last 20 minutes after replacement prop Thomas du Toit received a red card for a dangerous tackle. Despite this, the team hung on as if their lives depended on it to snatch the memorable victory.

The result saw the Boks win two of their four matches on the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour – with the two narrow defeats being against the first and second ranked teams in the world in Ireland and France.

“We’ve had a couple of special results as a team, but this was the first win for Siya and I at Twickenham, so it’s very special to us,” said Nienaber.

“The forwards were outstanding and created a good platform for our backs to attack, so all-in-all, it was a fantastic team effort.”

Kolisi echoed lauded the entire team for their efforts to make the victory possible.

“Sometimes we take it for granted what a special environment one is in and the great coaching team we have,” said Kolisi.

“When we got together with most of this coaching team in 2018, we all bought into the plans and the synergy and the way we work together is really special in this group.”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanks the crowd after the Boks won at Twickenham.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanks the crowd after the Boks won at Twickenham.

Nienaber was delighted with the way some of the young players rose to the occasion and said: “With this match being outside of the international Test window there were a whole lot of players who were not available for selection, but we have a lot of players knocking on the door and it was great to give those guys an opportunity tonight.

“It’s always good to give those players a chance under such pressure in front of a packed Twickenham, which can be pretty hostile, and they stood up today.”

Asked what he had told his players when they were reduced to 14 men, Kolisi said: “We actually said last week there is nothing we haven’t faced together as a group year. We’ve even been in situation when we had a red card, so the players knew what to do.

“Everyone knew they had to work harder to make up for the extra man, and the way the forwards played was great, and everyone did their bit to get the result.”

Wrapping up the tour, Nienaber said: “This was one of the most enjoyable four weeks we’ve had had even though we only got a 50% win record. The way the team, coaches, management and the game drivers made plans and worked tightly together with it was great, and we can take a lot from this going forward.”

The team will make their journey back to South Africa on Sunday and arrive on their home soil on Monday.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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