Francois Louw back in Springbok squad, but Whiteley, Willemse injured
Francois Louw will, after all, be part of the Springboks’ plans for the Rugby World Cup.
The Bath loose forward was belatedly called up to the Bok training group on Friday as part of 13 new players added, most of whom are from the Bulls and Sharks.
They were not part of the initial squad due to their teams qualifying for the Super Rugby playoffs, which they lost.
Those Boks were given an extra week off, and they will join Rassie Erasmus’ camp in Pretoria ahead of the Rugby Championship, which starts on 20 July against the Wallabies at Ellis Park (5.05pm kickoff).
Among the added players are Bulls captain Handre Pollard, Duane Vermeulen and Trevor Nyakane, as well as Sharks stars Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Sbu Nkosi.
But there was no place for Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch and Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier.
The 34-year-old Louw was left out of the first group who have been hard at work at Loftus Versfeld this past week, which seemed to indicate that he may not be part of Erasmus’ World Cup campaign.
But perhaps the injuries to Warren Whiteley (knee) and Dan du Preez (ribs), as well as the concern around captain Siya Kolisi may have forced Erasmus to bring back former Stormers stalwart Louw.
SA Rugby announced on Friday that Whiteley, Du Preez, Ruan Botha (foot), Damian Willemse (knee) and Jan Serfontein (ankle) were not considered for the training camp.
Whiteley, though, could still prove his fitness for the Lions in the Currie Cup, which starts on 13 July.
In some good news for Erasmus, in-form Lions loose forward Kwagga Smith has recovered from a hamstring problem and did participate in the camp.
“After our series of alignment camps, it was great to get the available group of players together and to get going with our field sessions,” Erasmus said.
“Kwagga Smith has recovered from his hamstring strain and was cleared to return to training, which meant that we were able to have 25 players available for our daily field training sessions.
“Our captain, Siya Kolisi, is continuing with his rehabilitation and the aim is to have him ready in time for the start of the Rugby Championship.”
Springbok Training Group
Forwards: Schalk Brits (Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Ulster, Ireland), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Marvin Orie (Lions), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls).
Backs: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Andre Esterhuizen (Sharks), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Dillyn Lleyds (Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Sbu Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France).@ashfakmohamed