Exciting mix named in Springbok and SA ‘A’ squads
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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).
England side to face Ireland in Six Nations
Captain Owen Farrell will start at fly half, Manu Tuilagi returns to the side at inside centre with Henry Slade at outside centre. There is a first England start for Henry Arundell on the left wing, Anthony Watson is at right wing, and Freddie Steward is full back.
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In the forward pack Lewis Ludlam is named vice-captain and is flanker alongside Jack Willis. Alex Dombrandt is at No. 8. In the same front row that has started each game of the championship, vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler are at prop and Jamie George is at hooker. David Ribbans starts at lock with Maro Itoje.
Dan Cole is in line to make his 100th appearance for England after being named as replacement. Cole made his England debut in the Six Nations in February 2010. He has gone on to play in three Rugby World Cups and has won three Guinness Six Nations titles.
Nick Isiekwe and Joe Marchant return to the bench, along with Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell and Marcus Smith.
“We travel to Dublin to face an Ireland team on Saturday that has the chance to secure a Grand Slam Championship victory at home for the first time” said Borthwick.
“We know that after the bitter disappointment of the display against an exceptional France team last week, we will have to be much improved to meet the challenge of playing the side presently ranked number one in the world.
“However, I have witnessed an England squad determined to make amends for the defeat at Twickenham, and I am confident that the team announced today will once again want to show the sort of resilience and attitude that brought us victory in Wales.”
Team to face Ireland
15. Freddie Steward
14. Anthony Watson
13. Henry Slade
12. Manu Tuilagi
11. Henry Arundell
10. Owen Farrell (C)
1. Ellis Genge (VC)
2. Jamie George
4. Maro Itoje
6. Lewis Ludlam (VC)
7. Jack Willis
16. Jack Walker
17. Mako Vunipola
18. Dan Cole
19. Nick Isiekwe
20. Ben Curry
21. Alex Mitchell
22. Marcus Smith
23. Joe Marchant
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Ireland Squad Named For Guinness Six Nations Super Saturday
Ireland will take on England at a sold-out Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening (Kick-off 5pm) for the chance to claim the Guinness Six Nations Championship title, the Triple Crown and a fourth Men’s Grand Slam title.
World Player of the Year Josh van der Flier will win his 50th cap on Saturday. He lines out in an unchanged back row as Caelan Doris is named to start alongside him and Peter O’Mahony.
In the front row, Dan Sheehan has been passed fit and will start with Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong on either side of the scrum. Rob Herring comes in on the bench in place of Ronan Kelleher.
Ryan Baird, who came on for the injured Iain Henderson in Scotland, will partner James Ryan in the second row with Kieran Treadwell named in the replacements.
Captain Johnny Sexton will be partnered at half-back by Jamison Gibson Park and Robbie Henshaw comes into the centre to play alongside Bundee Aki. The back three of Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen and James Lowe start for a fifth consecutive Six Nations fixture.
Sexton equalled Ronan O’Gara’s Six Nations Championship all-time points scorer record (557 points) against Scotland and can become the outright top points scorer against England this weekend.
Jimmy O’Brien come into the match day 23 to join Cian Healy, Tom O’Toole, Jack Conan, Conor Murray and Ross Byrne who all featured last weekend in Murrayfield.
Ireland’s final game of the Championship will be broadcast live on VIRGIN and ITV television and RTE and BBCNI radio.
IRELAND Team (v England, 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Saturday 18th March, 2023, KO 17.00 (IST))
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 29 caps
14. Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians) 13 caps
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 61 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 45 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 19 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 112 caps (c)
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 24 caps
1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 52 caps
2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 16 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 64 caps
4. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 10 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 52 caps
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 93 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 27 caps
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 33 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 122 caps
18. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 8 caps
19. Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 10 caps
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 37 caps
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 104 caps
22. Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 18 caps
23. Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 4 caps
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Wales name much changed team for France
Head coach Warren Gatland has named his Wales senior men’s XV for the final round Guinness Six Nations match against France this Saturday at the Stade de France in Paris (KO 2.45pm GMT live on ITV and S4C).
No 8 Taulupe Faletau will win his 100th Wales cap having made his debut against the Barbarians in June 2011 and won his 50th cap against Fiji at Rugby World Cup 2015.
Dillon Lewis is in line to make his 50th senior international appearance for Wales from the bench. George North – also in the Wales starting line-up that faced the Barbarians when Faletau made his debut – partners Nick Tompkins in the Wales midfield.
Louis Rees-Zammit makes his third start for Wales at full back. Rio Dyer and Josh Adams are selected on the wings.
Dan Biggar returns from injury at fly half. Rhys Webb, who made his first start in this year’s Championship against Italy, continues at scrum half.
There are two changes to the forward pack that started last weekend’s outing at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Alun Wyn Jones is named in the second row, while Aaron Wainwright will make his first appearance this Six Nations coming in at blind-side flanker. Jac Morgan has been ruled out with an ankle injury picked up in training.
Among the Wales replacements Bradley Roberts and Gareth Thomas join Lewis in providing the front row cover.
Dafydd Jenkins and Tommy Reffell are the other forwards in the match day 23. Leigh Halfpenny is named one of the Wales replacement backs, along with Tomos Williams and Owen Williams.
Gatland said: “Last weekend was really important for us getting a win in the Six Nations and building a bit of confidence. It was a step in the right direction but there’s still lots for us to work on.
“We’ve worked hard on a few things in terms of tidying some of the defensive lapses that we’ve made and getting those things right. We’re still working hard on our attack.
“I think France last weekend put in probably one of the best performances seen in a long, long time. They’re the number two team in the world. They bring a really physical approach to the way they play and they’ve tended to start well.
“So that’s the important thing. We’ve got to go out there and start well, make sure we’re in that arm wrestle with them and give ourselves that opportunity.
“They’re a team that kick the ball a lot, so we’ve also got to make sure that our backfield is right and we’ve got to be good in the air.”
On Faletau reaching 100 caps for Wales Gatland added: “Toby has been a fantastic servant for Welsh rugby. Even though he’s reaching 100 caps he’s still pretty quiet, but he’s incredibly well respected by the players for what he’s achieved.
“I remember in the early years he was just a constant and he became absolutely world class in terms of his performances.
“There’s a lot of things that people don’t see in terms of his ability to read the game – he’ll run support lines that people don’t see. You see that when you’re going back through the videos and there have been times where he’s been on the end of a pass and scored tries. We saw that last week, Rhys Webb makes a break and Toby scores a try.
“Getting 100 caps is a great recognition for what he’s achieved in the game. It’s fantastic for him and his family and hopefully we can go out there and give him a really good performance and something for him to remember.”
Wales senior men’s XV to play France in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 18 March KO 2.45pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C
15 Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 24 caps)
14 Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 48 caps)
13 George North (Ospreys – 112 caps)
12 Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 26 caps)
11 Rio Dyer (Dragons – 6 caps)
10 Dan Biggar (Toulon – 106 caps)
9 Rhys Webb (Ospreys – 39 caps);
1 Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 47 caps)
2 Ken Owens (Scarlets – 90 caps) CAPT
3 Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 70 caps)
4 Adam Beard (Ospreys – 45 caps)
5 Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 157 caps)
6 Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 36 caps)
7 Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 92 caps)
8 Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 99 caps)
16 Bradley Roberts (Dragons – 4 caps)
17 Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 20 caps)
18 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 49 caps)
19 Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 5 caps)
20 Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 8 caps)
21 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 44 caps)
22 Owen Williams (Ospreys – 6 caps)
23 Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 98 caps)
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