Nienaber names squad for Springbok’s year end UK tour

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has named the squad that will fly the flag for South Africa in next month’s end-of-year tour to the United Kingdom. Stormers lock, Salmaan Moerat, earned his first Springbok call-up in the squad of 32 players. Several players were excluded because of injuries, while flyhalf Morne Steyn announced his retirement from international rugby.

Former SA Schools and Junior Springbok captain Salmaan Moerat is the only newcomer to the squad that did duty for the Boks during the British and Irish Lions tour and the Rugby Championship. The only other uncapped player is scrumhalf Grant Williams, who travelled to Australia for the Rugby Championship, but did not play.

Seven players, who were part of the 2019 World Cup-winning team were not available due to injuries, including scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, wing Cheslin Kolbe, prop Frans Malherbe and lock RG Snyman. Consistency and experience were foremost in Nienaber’s selection process.

“If you look at the props you will see Ox Nché coming in as the younger player coming into the mix at hooker Joseph Dweba, second-row Salmaan Moerat is the younger player coming into the mix. Jasper Wiese in the back row, we are continuously breeding younger players now in the back at fly-half, we didn’t do that in the back three Apahlele Fassie is the younger player we have an eye for consistency and experience, something we need going into the World Cup 2023,” says Nienaber.

The Springboks will play three test matches on the tour against Wales in Cardiff on November the sixth, Scotland in Edinburgh a week later, and will round off the tour in London against England on November the 20th. There’s no doubt that the players involved in the 2-1 British and Irish Lions series loss to South Africa earlier this year, will be looking to exact their revenge.

“I think it’s one thing as a Springbok side that we have to get used to we are reigning World Cup champions, we are ranked number one in world rugby. Teams are going to come for us regardless because you are the team that would like to test themselves against as we found out in the Rugby Championship. If you are a bit off your game against a team like Australia then that’s the game there will be some spice coming from the British and Irish Lions series but the nature of the beast is that teams will come for us regardless,” Nienaber explains.

Flyhalf Morne Steyn, who kicked the late winning penalty to snatch victory over the British and Irish Lions in the final match of the series in August and the same feat that he produced at Loftus Versveld against the Lions in 2009, has announced his retirement from international rugby. He has played 68 Tests for the Springboks and will end his career as the second-highest point’s scorer in all Tests with 742, behind Percy Montgomery, who scored 893.

“He has been such a great servant to SA rugby and a brilliant rugby player, so hats off to him for what he has delivered on the rugby field just in terms of the bit of magic that he brought to the British and Irish Lions series hitting them twice in the same manner just speaks volumes for the guy on the rugby field and off the field. He was phenomenal to the world over the last 20 weeks, he always contributed, was never scared to give his wisdom to the younger players,” Nienaber added.

The Springboks will leave for France this weekend, before travelling to Cardiff at the end of the month for the first Test against Wales.