World champions South Africa name Rugby Championship squad

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 07: Siya Kolisi of South Africa lifts the Series Trophy following victory in the 3rd Test Match between South Africa and British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber named a 43-man squad ahead of this year’s Rugby Championship following South Africa’s epic series win against the British & Irish Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.

In addition to five recent call-ups, lock RG Snyman will join up with the squad next week having been out of action since last year August when he suffered an ACL injury on his debut for Irish side Munster.

File Photo: Siya Kolisi of South Africa lifts the Series Trophy following victory in the 3rd Test Match between South Africa and British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Last week, number eight Duane Vermeulen, winger Rosko Specman, scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse and hooker Johan Grobbelaar were called up to the South Africa squad.

Veteran flyhalf Morné Steyn retains his place in the squad following his heroics in the series win. Steyn came off the bench to kick the winning penalty that secured a 19-16 win in the third Test for a 2-1 series victory.

“We are very proud about winning Castle Lager Lions Series and as a team we enjoyed celebrating that massive feat on Saturday night, but we have a big week ahead,” Nienaber said.

“Our first Test against Argentina in the Rugby Championship is on Saturday, so everything we do now has to be geared toward delivering a quality performance to kick off our campaign.”

“With a long season ahead, it is important that we build on the strides made in our last few matches when we take the field in the coming weeks.”

Despite no serious injuries being reported following the bruising deciding Test against the Lions, Nienaber said a few players may be rested this week.

“We selected a big squad with the intention of being as well prepared as possible for the season ahead,” he said.

“There are some players who were part of the initial 46-man squad for our conditioning camp in June, who have not had an opportunity yet, so we will look to give them some of them a run in the next few weeks.”

“It is important that we manage the players well to maintain the standards we have set for ourselves, and that includes game time for some players and resting others who have had a heavy load in the last few weeks.”

The reigning world champions will play Argentina twice on August 14 and 21 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium before flying out to Australasia for the remainder of the tournament.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions most of the tournament will be staged in Australia and New Zealand.

South Africa did not participate in last year’s Rugby Championship due to COVID-19 resulting in a temporarily altered format of a Tri-Nations tournament which New Zealand won.

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