Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will name a Springbok squad of 45 players next Saturday (5 June) to play against the British and Irish Lions and against second-tier rugby nation Georgia on 2 and 9 July.
The enlarged squad will go into a bubble where the players for the two Georgian tests and the SA ‘A’ team to face the Lions will be trained and selected.
The squad of 45 will be cut to between 35 and 37 players ahead of the first test against the Lions on July 24.
▲ With less than two months before the first test against the British and Irish Lions, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has only the two Georgian tests and the B&I Lions match against the SA 'A' side ten days before the Lions test to trial his preferred players and combinations.
He says the Bok management have “other goals” against Georgia, but good performances and wins are not negotiable.
The announced squad of 45 will include South African players from clubs abroad as the tests fall outside the international window.
▲ Nienaber will probably opt for a very logical choice: to select his strongest possible team to face Georgia in the Springboks first test since early November 2019, just more than 19 months ago.
The two tests should be won easily with whatever combinations Nienaber prefer, but his first priority would be to get some pattern and combinations established.
Two tests against Georgia will take place on Fridays, to ensure they don’t clash with the B&I Lions’ tour matches on Saturdays.
Nienaber emphasised that, working the with squad, attention will also be given to transformation and the way forward with another nine tests awaiting after the Lions tour.
▲ Nienaber, and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, were more than happy with the talent they have.
“We are lucky to have players all over the world,” Erasmus said, “as our players in South Africa have just been playing against one another.”
He referred to some outstanding performances by SA players overseas, mentioning Jasper Wiese who has been outstanding for Leicester, “and we have some wonderful talent locally, so we look pretty okay.”
▲ Nienaber confirmed that three World Cup winners are currently “touch and go” for the Lions Series.
- Lodewyk de Jager is recovering from a leg fracture, suffered in a freak training accident.
- Fellow World Cup-winning lock RG Snyman suffered a setback during the last block of his rehabilitation Snyman, who suffered an ACL injury just seven minutes into his debut against Leinster last August, underwent a minor procedure on his knee after suffering an unrelated injury early in May.
- Fullback Warrick Gelant underwent surgery after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the ‘Stormers’ encounter with the Bulls in a Currie Cup encounter in December.
▲ Six matches, only the two against Argentina at home, followed by two each against the Wallabies and All Blacks away, await in the Rugby Championship from the Saturday after the Lions tour.
Then, a month after the Rugby Championship, the Boks play Six Nations champions Wales, Scotland and Rugby World Cup finalists England on three successive Saturday on the year-end tour.
The venues and kick-off times for the Georgia internationals will be announced shortly.