Springboks lose 5 key players for home tests

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - Wales vs South Africa - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Britain - December 2, 2017 South Africa’s Handre Pollard celebrates scoring their second try REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has named a preliminary squad of 17 players for his side’s final two Rugby Championship matches.

South Africa’s Bryan Habana celebrates scoring a try with team mates
Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers
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The squad will be finalised after this weekend’s round of Currie Cup action and after some final injury assessments have been done by the medical team.

The 17 will assemble in Port Elizabeth on Friday when they will start their preparations for the final two Tests of the tournament.

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.

It was also confirmed 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 notfeature in the two home Tests.

“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.”

South Africa, who stunned the world by beating the All Blacks in Wellington this past weekend, take on the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth on September 29 and then the All Blacks once more at Loftus on October 6.