The Springboks will head into their final two Rugby Championship matches without the services of a number of key players.
South Africa still have a mathematical chance of winning the Rugby Championship, but will go into the Test matches against Australia in Port Elizabeth and New Zealand in Pretoria without key operators in the backline.
SA Rugby confirmed on Thursday that Damian De Allende (centre), Lukhanyo Am (centre) and Makazole Mapimpi (wing) will not feature in the two home Tests after they were ruled out due to injury.
Furthermore, Willie le Roux (fullback) and Francois Louw (loose forward) have returned to their English clubs after the pair featured in the Springboks’ four tournament matches to date. They will not feature in the two home Tests.
The statement also said 17 players will get together in Port Elizabeth on Friday when they will start their preparations for the final two Tests, next Saturday, 29 September against the Wallabies, and a week later against the All Blacks.
Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, confirmed that the squad will be further bolstered on Saturday when a number of other players have concluded their provincial duty in the Currie Cup.
“We are still keeping an eye on a number of players who we would like to involve in the coming weeks, but we would first like to see them get through their provincial matches this weekend,” said Erasmus.
“The players had a brief break after returning from New Zealand and I’m sure they will return fresh and energised for the last two matches,” said Erasmus.
“While we lost a couple of players to injury, but we are looking forward to possibly welcome back some others who have been playing for their provinces and recovered from injury. The two home matches will give us more time to work together as a group, to build on continuity and increase our depth.”
However, there was some good news for Erasmus, as wing S’bu Nkosi and tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen are on the bench for the Sharks in this Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against the Golden Lions in Durban.
Nkosi returns from an ankle injury sustained during the latter stages of Super Rugby, while Oosthuizen will make his long-awaited comeback from a serious knee injury suffered against Ireland on the Boks’ 2017 November tour.
Story : Kwese ESPN