Lukhanyo Am, Cheslin Kolbe back in Springbok squad for Ireland Tests

Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am is back from injury and has been included in the Springbok squad to face Ireland. Photo: AFP

Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am is back from injury and has been included in the Springbok squad to face Ireland. Photo: AFP

Published Jun 25, 2024


World Cup winners Cheslin Kolbe and Lukhanyo Am are back in the Springbok squad for the upcoming two-Test series against Ireland and the one-off clash against Portugal.

Bok coach Rassie Erasmus announced a 39-man squad on Tuesday, which saw Kolbe and Am return from injury after sitting out the 41-13 victory over Wales in London last weekend.

As expected, Erasmus has selected a number of players who were not available for the Wales Test at Twickenham due to the game being played outside the official international window, and those Bulls stars involved in the United Rugby Championship final against Glasgow Warriors last Saturday.

That group includes Siya Kolisi, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Handré Pollard, Willie le Roux, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Marco van Staden.

There are two new faces in the shape of Bulls hookers Johan Grobbelaar and Jan-Hendrik Wessels.

Erasmus said that there were a few injury niggles from the Wales Test – Faf de Klerk (quadriceps), Edwill van der Merwe (shoulder) and Makazole Mapimpi (hamstring) – but that Arendse, Kolbe and Am provided enough cover.

There was also a 14-man standby list of players who will train with the team at stages over the next few weeks in order to be ready for the Portugal Test in Bloemfontein on July 20.

SA Rugby confirmed that there are eight players who were not available due to injury: Steven Kitshoff (prop), Jean Kleyn, Lood de Jager (both locks), Cameron Hanekom (loose forward), Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf), Henco van Wyk (centre), Canan Moodie and Damian Willemse (both utility backs).

The Boks gathered in Pretoria on Tuesday for training ahead of the first Test against Ireland at Loftus Versfeld on July 6, which will be followed by the second encounter at Kings Park in Durban on July 13.

“We named the best squad available for the Castle Incoming Series, and with squad depth being one of our key pillars as we build toward to the 2027 Rugby World Cup and the Test against Portugal, we thought it would be beneficial to us to name a standby squad with a few players who will join us at training sporadically in the next few weeks,” Erasmus said.

“Unfortunately, a handful of players are carrying injuries and were ruled out of the selection mix, but our plan to build depth in the last few years and expose players to Test rugby in the build-up to the 2023 RWC and against Wales last weekend certainly paid off.”

Springbok Squad

Forwards: Phepsi Buthelezi, Ben-Jason Dixon, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Thomas du Toit, Eben Etzebeth. Johan Grobbelaar, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Salmaan Moerat, Franco Mostert, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Evan Roos, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Gerhard Steenekamp, Marco van Staden, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Jasper Wiese.

Backs: Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, André Esterhuizen, Aphelele Fassi, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux, Manie Libbok, Makazole Mapimpi, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Morné van den Berg, Edwill van der Merwe, Grant Williams.

Players on standby:

Forwards: Jean-Luc du Preez, Joseph Dweba, Neethling Fouché, Mpilo Gumede, Elrigh Louw, Wilco Louw, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Ruben van Heerden, André-Hugo Venter.

Backs: Suleiman Hartzenberg, Jordan Hendrikse, Ethan Hooker, Quan Horn, Siya Masuku.

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