Gelant gets Bok call up

The Springbok squad that will invade Europe in November has been named by Allister Coetzee.

Arguably South Africa’s best forward this season, despite playing most of it off the bench, Jean-Luc Du Preez’s abrasiveness and direct style will be missed as Coetzee hopes to avoid a repeat of the 2016 tour north, which included record-breaking losses at the end of the worst season in Bok history.

Du Preez ruled out of Bok EOYT

The problem is somewhat mitigated by a call-up for Du Preez’s twin brother, Daniel who marks one of four uncapped players in an enlarged, 34-man squad named on Sunday. Bulls dynamo Warrick Gelant, Sharks midfielder Lukhanyo Am and Sharks halfback Louis Schreuder will also be aiming to make their Test debuts in the coming weeks.

Gelant, who played for the Junior Springboks and Blitzboks teams, has cracked the nod for the first time following impressive performances this year.

Am is back in the Springbok fold after, surprisingly, being omitted from the Rugby Championship squad, where Du Preez and Schreuder were belatedly called up to the wider squad.

Meanwhile, Tendai Mtawarira (family reasons), Coenie Oosthuizen (arm) and Uz Cassiem (ribs) have been recalled after short absences. The discarded Cheetahs duo of Francois Venter and Oupa Mohoje have been offered another ride.

“This squad reflects consistency and continuity, while we also rewarded players who have constantly shown good form this season,” Coetzee said in a press release.

“Eight new players were capped so far this season, a total of 19 international players have made their Springbok debuts since the 2015 World Cup, and we’ve also had a number of new Springbok captains since then. Our process to rebuild the Bok team and steadily working towards the 2019 World Cup is continuing at a satisfying pace.”

Eben Etzebeth will continue to lead the side in the injury-absence of Warren Whiteley, but the squad will be without Jan Serfontein, who asked not to be considered for the tour as he wants to settle in at French club Montpellier.

Coetzee also announced that Siya Kolisi will return to Cape Town after the Test against France in Paris on 18 November as his wife, Rachel, is due to give birth the following week. He will not be available for the Test against Italy on 25 November in Padova, but will re-join the group for the final tour match in Cardiff against Wales.

Players who are contracted to overseas clubs – Franco Mostert, Francois Louw and Elton Jantjies – will not be considered for selection for the 2 December encounter against Wales, as this Test falls outside the international window.

Other players not considered for selection for the four-week tour because of injury include Whiteley, Jaco Kriel, Frans Malherbe, Sbu Nkosi and Ruan Combrinck.

Fixtures
11 November vs Ireland (Dublin)
18 November vs France (Paris)
25 November vs Italy (Padova)
2 December vs Wales (Cardiff)

Springbok European tour squad
Forwards (in alphabetical order)
Uzair Cassiem (6 caps)
Lood de Jager (32)
Ruan Dreyer (4)
Dan du Preez (Uncapped)
*Jean-Luc du Preez (10)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (29)
Eben Etzebeth (63)
Steven Kitshoff (19)
Siya Kolisi (25)
Francois Louw (54)
Wilco Louw (1)
Malcolm Marx (11)
Bongi Mbonambi (11)
Oupa Mohojé (17)
Franco Mostert (15)
Tendai Mtawarira (95)
Trevor Nyakane (34)
Coenie Oosthuizen (29)
Chiliboy Ralepelle (22)

Backs
Lukhanyo Am (Uncapped)
Curwin Bosch (1)
Andries Coetzee (9)
Ross Cronjé (6)
Damian de Allende (27)
Warrick Gelant (Uncapped)
Elton Jantjies (20)
Jesse Kriel (25)
Dillyn Leyds (5)
Rudy Paige (11)
Handré Pollard (22)
Raymond Rhule (7)
Louis Schreuder (Uncapped)
Courtnall Skosan (9)
Francois Venter (3)

*Inclusion subject to outcome of MRI scan and orthopaedic opinion.

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer