SA Rugby and FNB confirmed on Tuesday that the South African banking giant has extended its sponsorship of the Springboks for a further five years.
The new agreement will stretch FNB's association with the team to eight years in total, with the bank's iconic acacia tree logo to continue to feature on the jersey above the playing number.
Renewal discussions began before last year's Rugby World Cup and were concluded before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are delighted to confirm FNB’s continued association with the Springboks,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“FNB have been a great partner since they joined us in the 2017 season and have supported us in many was beyond a pure sponsorship.
“They showed faith in the Springboks at a challenging time, but I trust and believe that we have been good for each other as the team has developed and enjoyed success in 2019.
“It’s worth noting that our renewal conversations began long before the Rugby World Cup to underline the nature of the relationship.”
FNB's logo first appeared on the team jersey in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Port Elizabeth in August 2017.
Faye Mfikwe, FNB Chief Marketing Officer said: “We are honoured to continue our association with the Springboks. FNB is immensely proud of the team’s achievements and commitment to unifying the country to foster social cohesion.
“Over the last four years, our collective contribution has provided a platform for South Africa’s youth to showcase their sporting talent on the global stage.
“The Springboks not only inspire South Africans to have ‘hope’ but also strive to building a stronger nation. We are looking forward to continuing a winning journey with the team.”
Roux added: “We look forward to continuing our successful relationship in the seasons to come. SA Rugby is proud to partner with one of the strong pillars of South African business.”
FNB is the oldest bank in South Africa, and can be traced back to the Eastern Province Bank formed in Grahamstown in 1838. Today, FNB trades as a division of FirstRand Bank Limited. The Acacia tree in our brand logo is a suitable representation of our history. Our roots run deep in South Africa, and we have grown thanks to our commitment to serving the needs of our clients and communities.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
SA Rugby advised amateur clubs, universities, associate members and schools on Thursday that their COVID-19 Committee (CovCom) had approved a proposal to allow teams to return to training under certain strict conditions, although a return to play will not be permitted in 2020.
The resumption of amateur rugby training follows the gazetting of new regulations on sport by the Departments of Basic Education and of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC).
“In the past couple of weeks, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has permitted several sports to allow their amateur constituents to return to training and match play,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“Earlier this month the DSAC released a statement to be read in conjunction with the gazetted regulations that said athletes, support staff and official involved in non-professional sport do not have to undergo COVID-19 testing before returning to train, but only had to ensure that a robust screening system was in place for training to commence.
“They do not have to submit their operational return to training plans to the Minister for approval. We decided to approve the resumption of training for the SA Rugby and the Provincial Union Elite Player Development programmes, rugby at amateur and community clubs and for associations affiliated to Provincial Unions and SA Rugby, but on certain strict conditions.”
The conditions include, among other things, financial considerations, control measures to curb the transmission of the virus, as well as adherence to requirements of the SA Rugby Return to Train and Play Guidelines for Amateur Rugby. The rules are required to be enforced by provincial unions.
All rugby bodies have been instructed to follow the “Integrated Return to Training” framework, as an injury mitigation strategy. It requires four weeks of fitness and strength training, followed by four weeks of gradual integration of contact rugby skills.
A set of guidelines will be circulated to all teams wishing to return to training through their provincial unions. These will include: signing indemnification and declaration of health forms; the appointment of a compliance officer; registration of all players, officials and staff on a club data base; screening and education of players, officials and staff; cleaning and sanitation of training venues, apparel and facilities; and to ensure no spectators are permitted at training or matches.
SA Rugby also advised that amateur rugby matches will not be permitted to take place for the remainder of 2020, and teams may only start competitive action with the commencement of the 2021 rugby season.
However, non-contact rugby, such as TAG or Touch Rugby, can resume once the four weeks of fitness and strength training have been concluded.
Advice on the resumption of competitive play at the community level will be confirmed in due course.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
SA Rugby’s BokSmart Rugby Safety programme has embraced a digital future to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, following a landmark sponsorship agreement with sports software specialist, SportsCap.
The agreement will allow the national rugby safety programme to continue training coaches and match officials in safe practices through a ‘MyBokSmart’ app – despite the constraints enforced by the pandemic.
The new software programme will house a BokSmart Certification Software Ecosystem (BCSE) to support the various aspects of BokSmart’s internal and external operations.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way business and the world operates, and we are delighted that we will enter into the ‘new normal’ with SportsCap as our partners,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
“BokSmart and SportsCap have developed a good relationship in the past few years in other operational aspects of the programme, and we are pleased to see them coming on board as an official partner.
“This new system will not only enable us to offer a non face-to-face option to BokSmart training, it will also benefit the coaches and referees immensely by allowing them the opportunity to complete their certifications in their own time.”
Dr Wayne Viljoen, SA Rugby Senior Manager for Rugby Safety, said various elements were being planned for the BCSE: “We will have an upgraded internal certification system database, an internal reporting system, and an external BokSmart Certification Check App,” said Dr Viljoen.
“The main aspect of the BCSE will be the ‘MyBokSmart’ web portal, web-API and App that will be developed over the next year. In addition to this, new components will be created in the future as the system develops and expands.”
SportsCap Managing Director Dale Toy was delighted to sponsor the project and said: “This is the start of a new era for BokSmart and we are looking forward to being part of their journey towards a digital future.
“By moving BokSmart online we are breaking through the ceiling by not only strengthening the relationship with the existing stakeholders but expanding it to include players, parents, medical staff and administrators.
“Along with the BCSE we are also creating systems designed specifically for clubs and schools to make compliance with BokSmart and rugby in general both simple and time efficient.
“We have been involved with BokSmart behind the scenes for a few years now, and have seen first-hand the impact that it has had on making the game both safer and more accessible.
“It is a privilege to now be an official partner and part of the team driving this,” added Toy.
Apart from online BokSmart certifications, ‘MyBokSmart’ will allow coaches, referees, players, and even medical staff to register and view certain modules on rugby safety from their devices of choice, such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets.
Once registered on the App, BokSmart will become a self-controlled access point for coaches and referees to be able to direct their personal journeys with the programme, and once verified, to change, update or edit basic personal information that is currently on the BokSmart Certification System database.
Medical support personnel for rugby teams will also be able to get themselves certified in future via the online or App-based course, which will extend the reach of the programme, while one or two modules will even be aimed at player education.
‘MyBokSmart’ will also be used as an information hotspot for all who have registered on the App, to receive key notifications, new information pieces, regulations, documents, videos and infographics that may have significance.
Issued by SA Rugby Communication
Springbok Green turned on Test-style rugby to come away with a 25-9 victory and bragging rights over Springbok Gold in the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown as South African rugby took another step back to full competitive play with a second, post lockdown run out.
Greens’ forward power and kicking game was a deliberate plan, said their coach Mzwandile Stick: “We wanted to make it as close as possible to a test match.
“We wanted to put pressure in the air and we didn’t want to give them time and space with ball in hand. We wanted to use our set piece and kicking game – that’s what the Springbok game is all about,” added Stick.
The tactics led to three tries for the Green team – by Siya Kolisi, Juarno Augustus and a penalty try – although the primary objective was simply to get back onto the field in a Springbok environment.
“The reason for the game was to showcase the talent and also to build experience and share information between the senior players and the youngsters,” said Deon Davids, coach of Springbok Gold.
“The young players have been exposed to the Springbok environment and it was a wonderful week in our team – and it was from what I hear from team Green as well – with the senior players sharing their experience and offering guidance.
“It was also a fantastic opportunity to look at the players’ ability in training and see where they are in terms of preparation and what is needed. It is very early in the ‘season’ – this was only the second game – and we’ll get more answers from hereon in.
“We hope the players have learned some valuable lessons and will take those back in order to become better players.”
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi also highlighted the value of the interaction with the large number of uncapped players among the 50-strong line-up – and additional ‘young guns’ who had spent the week with the teams.
“It was really special for all of us and for me personally to see the young guys,” said Kolisi.
“I wanted to make sure the guys felt welcome and spent some time sitting down with them. It was special to see them perform tonight.
“We are in a good place as South African rugby with our talent, but we are a long way off in terms of fitness and match readiness from where we were at the World Cup.”
Stick said that the players and management were now preparing if the team’s participation is confirmed for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in Australia.
“It’s not in our hands,” he said.
“Our job is to make sure that we prepare the players. Since the start of the year and during lockdown there was a lot of information shared between us and the players.
“We are doing everything in our power to make sure the players are ready, but because they haven’t played for six months it’s also very important to manage the players.
“We don’t want to put them under pressure and play them for 80 minutes week-in-week-out; even now you can see players getting small, little injuries. So, the most important thing right now is player welfare and how we look after them.
“If our executive and director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, decide we have to go then we will do everything in our power to make sure we’re ready to go.”
The domestic season will now resume on Friday with the first round of Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok captain Siya Kolisi will resume his leadership duties in the national team colours on Saturday for the first time since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup after being named alongside Springbok team-mate Lukhanyo Am as the captains of the Green and Gold teams for the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown.
The Green team is coached by Mzwandile Stick, with SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus serving as the team commissioner, while Deon Davids is the Gold team coach and Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber the team commissioner.
The experienced Springbok duo will lead two teams featuring the best of the best in South Africa; Rugby World Cup winners, seasoned internationals and rising stars determined to showcase their skills with an eye on making a step up to national level.
Stick was forced to make three changes to his match-day squad for the clash after Oupa Mohoje (utility forward) tested positive for COVID-19, although he is asymptomatic, and as a precautionary measure Trevor Nyakane (prop) was withdrawn from the squad after being in close contact with his former Toyota Cheetahs team-mate.
Furthermore, former Junior Springbok utility back Mnombo Zwelendaba was ruled out due to a hip injury.
As a result, three young guns have been called into the Springbok Gold team – Kwenzo Blose (prop), Kade Wolhuter (flyhalf) and JJ van der Mescht (lock). All three players have been named on the bench.
Stick was excited about his team, despite the enforced changes: “We have a good balance in our team if you look at the mix between the youngsters and senior players,” he said.
“We have the likes of Siya Kolisi, Duane (Vermeulen), Elton (Jantjies) and Frans (Steyn) that were with us at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, while we worked with some of the youngsters at a junior level, and it is great to give them a taste of a Test week.”
Davids was equally pleased with his team’s preparations: “The week has gone very well so far, with good enthusiasm at training and a great eagerness to learn and to absorb what is happening in this special environment,” he said.
“We will see a fascinating battle between two interesting and exciting team combinations, each one consisting of experienced RWC winning Springboks, established franchise players, some Blitzboks and some really good youngsters coming through the ranks.”
Stick, who admitted it was great to see the domestic players back in action after the country was forced into lockdown six months ago, expected an entertaining clash and said they were excited to see what the players would dish up on Saturday.
“We would like to give the players the freedom to express themselves, and to showcase their talent and bring that X-factor,” said Stick.
“If you look at the likes of Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, they use their chances one-on-one, and we would like to give these young players the opportunity to do that. With the experienced players around them, I think it will be a good match.
“The game might open up in the later stages, but we are going to respect this match. The Gold team also has quality players, so we will try to play a well-balanced game, and if it opens up, we will look to take our opportunities.”
Davids said with the DHL Stormers relocating to the Cape Town Stadium next year, it would be a special occasion for the Cape-based players in both squads.
“We have a number of DHL Stormers players in our ranks for whom this match will be a very special occasion, playing on the beautiful field of the famous DHL Newlands stadium,” said Davids.
Am, meanwhile, kicked off the banter between the teams in the build-up to the match saying: “I’m not letting any secrets out the bag, but we have surprises in store for the Green squad.”
15 – Gianni Lombard
14 – Yaw Penxe
13 – Wandisile Simelane
12 – Frans Steyn
11 – Malcolm Jaer
10 – Elton Jantjies
9 – Sanele Nohamba
8 – Duane Vermeulen
7 – Arno Botha
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain)
5 – Hyron Andrews
4 – JD Schickerling
3 – Luan de Bruin
2 – Bongi Mbonambi
1 – Ox Nche
16 – Schalk Erasmus
17 – Kwenzo Blose
18 – Thomas du Toit
19 – JJ van der Mescht
20 – Juarno Augustus
21 – Junior Pokomela
22 – Embrose Papier
23 – Manie Libbok
24 – Jeremy Ward
25 – Kade Wolhuter
15 – Warrick Gelant
14 – Rosko Specman
13 – Lukhanyo Am (captain)
12 – Rikus Pretorius
11 – Courtnall Skosan
10 – Damian Willemse
9 – Herschel Jantjies
8 – Sikhumbuzo Notshe
7 – Nizaam Carr
6 – Marco van Staden
5 – Marvin Orie
4 – Salmaan Moerat
3 – Ruan Dreyer
2 – Scarra Ntubeni
1 – Steven Kitshoff
16 – Dylan Richardson
17 – Dylan Smith
18 – Carlü Sadie
19 – Jason Jenkins
20 – James Venter
21 – Vincent Tshituka
22 – Ivan van Zyl
23 – Curwin Bosch
24 – Werner Kok
25 – Manuel Rass
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
A Special General Meeting of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) voted on Tuesday to explore entering four teams into an expanded PRO Rugby competition as well as retaining a place in a revised SANZAAR competition.
The four teams voted to potentially make the transition were the existing Vodacom Super Rugby franchises – the Vodacom Bulls, the Emirates Lions, the Cell C Sharks and the DHL Stormers.
The decision was taken by the 13 voting member unions of SARU at a specially convened meeting to determine international participation and competition formats in a COVID-impacted rugby environment. The Border Rugby Union – which is under administration – currently has its voting powers suspended.
The new direction was determined by the SARU General Meeting as it is the highest authority in rugby. Among other things, it has responsibility for the “approval or the amendment and rescission of any decision regarding the format, structure, competition rules and composition of SARU’s major senior domestic competition currently known as the Currie Cup or its successor as well as determining the SA teams to participate in Super Rugby competitions by special resolution.”
The meeting rejected the first option of remaining in a PRO14 format and leaving four franchises to engage in potential successor SANZAAR domestic formats.
SA Rugby would now accelerate preliminary conversations with PRO Rugby Championship DAC on SA Rugby’s representation in the competition. PRO Rugby Championship DAC is the owner of PRO14 and is a joint venture between the rugby unions of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.
The General Meeting also opted to continue conversations with SANZAAR about entering a team into a modified “Super Series” format, on the proviso that a commercial model was developed to make their entry cost neutral at least, once agreement had been reached with SANZAAR. The meeting agreed that the Toyota Cheetahs would be proposed as the South African entry to such a competition.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, said the meeting and options had been presented as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unilateral decision by the New Zealand Rugby Union to proceed with a domestic or trans-Tasman competition.
Roux said New Zealand’s decision made it impossible to deliver the 14-team Vodacom Super Rugby competition that had been agreed by the partners and for which five-year broadcasting agreements had been signed.
“Our members are excited about the prospect of closer alignment with PRO Rugby Championship and seeking a northern hemisphere future, but we would not have been taking this decision but for actions elsewhere,” said Roux.
In a second decision the meeting determined the domestic and Currie Cup formats for 2021.
It will feature two competitions:
Mr Mark Alexander, SA Rugby president, thanked the membership for its deliberations and the outcomes.
“These are extraordinary times, if this had been an ordinary year, we would not have had this meeting,” he said.
“But we needed to take radical steps to avoid financial meltdown because of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Roux said that SA Rugby remained committed to the SANZAAR partnership and participation in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
“We will advise our SANZAAR partners of the General Meeting’s decision,” Roux said.
“We remain part of the joint venture and will pursue the ‘Super Series’ discussions in good faith.”
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks Duane Vermeulen, Elton Jantjies, Steven Kitshoff and Herschel Jantjies expressed their excitement for the Castle Lager Springbok showdown, saying they were looking forward to a thrilling clash.
They were also keen to see what the young players in their respective Springbok Green and Gold squads had to offer as they take a step up in their careers on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Springbok Green team welcomed injured Rugby World Cup-winning lock Lood de Jager on Tuesday as their lineout coach, while the Gold team had a new edition in Springbok scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl, who replaces Jaden Hendrikse following his withdrawal due to a chest injury.
De Jager suffered a shoulder injury earlier this month while representing his English club, the Sale Sharks, and will assist Springbok Green team coach Mzwandile Stick and assistant coach Daan Human before going under the knife next week.
Van Zyl, who earned three Test caps in 2018 and was named in the original draft squad of 93, will want to make a statement to the Springbok coaching staff.
“There are several new faces in the teams and there is a lot of information coming through and detail they need to learn, but they are all willing to learn and work hard,” said Kitshoff.
“There are some really talented and energetic youngsters who are part of the group at the moment and it is great to see them getting an opportunity, and hopefully they will display some good skill and showcase their talent this weekend.”
On a personal note, Kitshoff was thrilled to be back in the Springbok set-up, albeit for a friendly match, and said: “The feeling you get from playing for the Springboks is definitely still there. We give as much as we can and make the necessary sacrifices to play for the team, and that is something I think of every day.
“To be back at the DHL Stormers and now here after the COVID-19 pandemic brought things to a halt is great, and I am really looking forward to the weekend.”
Vermeulen said the clash would not only serve as an opportunity for the young players to show what they can do at this level, but would also be beneficial for all the players in building their match fitness as they look forward to Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked, which kicks off on Friday, 9 October.
“The most important thing for us as players is to work on our match fitness, especially going into our local competition,” said Vermeulen.
“And for the youngsters I think it will be the opportunity to go out and display their skills on a bigger stage with an eye on perhaps getting the nod when we play in the future as a Springbok squad.
“There are guys like Arno Botha who have been in the fold before and have come back in and now have another opportunity, and I think it would be nice for the coaches to see what they have and if they still have that burning desire to play for the Boks.”
Experienced flyhalf, Elton Jantjies, echoed these sentiments and said: “It is always special. Wearing the green and gold comes with a lot of responsibility and it is great to be back after such a difficult time.
“There was speculation at a point that we may not be able to play rugby, but it is another opportunity to get going, which is always exciting.”
Nippy Springbok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, who is back in action after recovering from a fractured leg, expected an entertaining spectacle at DHL Newlands.
“We have a guidelines that we will follow, but this is rugby, so one can never predict what is going to happen and things rarely pan out the way one plans, so we will see what happens on the weekend. I think it is going to be an interesting spectacle,” said Herschel Jantjies.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
Springbok wing Courtnall Skosan and former Junior Springboks, Carlü Sadie and Mnombo Zwelendaba, were named as injury replacements for the Springbok Gold and Green squads for the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown at DHL Newlands.
Skosan, who earned the last of his 12 Test caps against Italy in 2017, and Sadie (prop), who represented the Junior Springboks in the 2016 World Rugby U20 Championship, were called up to the Springbok Gold squad on Monday following the withdrawal of Sergeal Petersen (foot) and Rugby World Cup-winning prop Frans Malherbe (toe) due to injury.
Zwelendaba (utility back), one of the eight Young Guns in the Springbok Green Team, was a member of the Junior Springbok squad that won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina. He was drafted into the main squad after Seabelo Senatla was forced to withdraw due to a hamstring injury.
Blitzboks and Vodacom Bulls speedster Kurt-Lee Arendse was initially called up as a replacement for Senatla, but a decision was made to draft in Zwelendaba after he was unable to make his flight from Gauteng to Cape Town on Monday.
SA Rugby Director of Rugby and Springbok Green team commissioner, Rassie Erasmus, explained that the key this week is to expose the young players to the Springbok culture.
“We agreed as coaches that we are going to share a lot with the players in terms of the Springbok environment,” said Erasmus.
“We want to show them how we do things, how our analysis systems work – both in terms of our game and the opposition – and setting a goal of the day, which we recap at the end of the day.
“We are also exposing them to the systems we use off the field, such as how players do their own analysis and plan the week in terms of time management, so there are several factors within the Springbok environment that we want the players to get used to.”
Zoning in on Saturday’s encounter, Erasmus said the teams’ style of play would differ to the Springboks’ usual style.
“Our message to the players this week is that they should use this opportunity to understand the way we work,” said Erasmus.
“What they don’t remember by Friday night they should forget, and they need to showcase their individual skills because that is what we would like to see. There won’t be a specific game plan, so it won’t be a Springbok blueprint imprinted in the players’ minds.”
Springbok head coach and Gold team commissioner, Jacques Nienaber, admitted that the injuries were unfortunate, but he was excited to see what Skosan, Sadie and Zwelendaba would bring to the match.
“We really wanted to see all three players in action, but due to injuries we won’t have that opportunity,” said Nienaber.
“That said, Courtnall is a Springbok so he knows what to expect at this level, while Carlü and Mnombo have come through the Junior Springbok structures and have great potential, so we are excited to see them in action.”
The Springbok Gold and Green coaches, Deon Davids and Mzwandile Stick, will announce their match-day squads on Wednesday.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
A buzz of excitement filled the team hotels of the Springbok Green and Gold squads in Cape Town on Sunday as the players arrived at camp masked up and ready to begin their preparations for the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown at DHL Newlands on Saturday, 3 October.
For the Rugby World Cup winners, it was the first time they met under the Springbok emblem since their Trophy Tour in November last year, and for the new players and young guns it was a case of soaking up the scenery as they rubbed shoulders with a few of their heroes for the first time in the national set-up.
The teams will begin their on-field preparations on Monday after having team meetings and being briefed on the COVID-19 safety protocols on Sunday.
“It was fantastic to see the excitement on the players’ faces for this occasion when they arrived at the hotel and it certainly bodes well for a great showdown on Saturday,” Jacques Nienaber, Springbok head coach and Gold team commissioner.
“One could sense the excitement and camaraderie among the Rugby World Cup-winning players to be back together for the first time since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup last year, while the new players and young guns were in great spirits and thrilled to be part of the national set-up.
“This week is going to be different for us due to the strict COVID-19 safety protocols, but fortunately the players have all been exposed to these safety guidelines at their provincial unions in the last few weeks.
“It is clear that everyone is excited to get into the swing of things when we begin our on-field training on Monday.”
The teams will kick off the week’s activities with some gym work on Monday morning, followed by light field sessions in the afternoon.
Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby Director of Rugby and Springbok Green team commissioner, said it was great for the players to get together again after such a long absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During lockdown, Jacques and his assistant coaches kept in touch with the players by means of regular virtual meetings,” said Erasmus.
“However, nothing beats that feeling of being back in an actual team environment. Apart from the few training activities, which will not be heavily loaded, we will also spend a lot of time on aligning the players in both squads regarding our team objectives for the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown.
“Everyone are excited to be together again and we are looking forward to working with the players in the build-up to Saturday’s match.”
Deon Davids and Mzwandile Stick, the respective coaches of the Gold and Green squads, will announce their match day squads on Wednesday afternoon.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
Thirty-two capped Springboks – 13 of whom were part of the Rugby World Cup-winning squad in Japan a year ago – a number of Blitzboks and recent Junior Boks are among a roster of 93 players in the draft squad for the historic Castle Lager Springbok Showdown in Cape Town on Saturday 3 October.
Fifty of these players will end up in the two squads – Green and Gold – for the momentous match scheduled for DHL Newlands in two weeks’ time.
The Green team will be coached by Mzwandile Stick, with Rassie Erasmus as team commissioner, while Deon Davids and Jacques Nienaber will be in charge of the Gold squad.
The players, all of whom are based in South Africa, will be drafted into two squads of 25 each by the respective team commissioners and coaches, with equal representation amongst all positions.
Furthermore, each squad will be augmented by seven rookies, all of whom will return to their provinces the day before the match if they are not required to step into either squad as replacements.
The draft picks will take place live on SuperSport on Friday 25 September, and the squads will gather in Cape Town on Sunday 27 September.
“We’ve cast the net very wide for this match, which is a very exciting prospect – as Springbok coaches, we can’t wait to start working with the players,” said Erasmus.
“To make this a meaningful exercise, the match-day squads will be only 25 players, but we’ve decided to increase each squad with the seven young guns for a number of reasons.
“Firstly, we have to make provision should squad members pick up injuries or become ill and have to be replaced, in line with COVID-19 regulations.
“This match also provides us with a great opportunity for our younger players to rub shoulders with more experienced Springboks, especially since many of them missed out on Junior Springbok representation this year.”
Erasmus explained that the squad of 93 players were identified during Vodacom Super Rugby and the Guinness PRO14 earlier in the year, and last year’s Currie Cup, and that the younger players on the list have been part of SA Rugby’s Elite Player Development (EPD) programme in the last couple of years.
A total of 32 players featured for the Junior Springboks between 2016 and 2019, which Erasmus was particularly pleased about.
“Even if they don’t make the final squads, it shows that our pathway from junior to senior level – as part of the EPD programme – works very well and it was especially exciting to see many of these players getting opportunities at franchise level in the last two seasons,” said Erasmus.
A number of players who are currently injured were not considered for the match, including World Rugby and SA Rugby Player of the Year, Pieter-Steph du Toit, as well as RWC-winner Sbu Nkosi and Aphelele Fassi, both of whom were in good form for the Cell C Sharks earlier in the year.
Erasmus added: “This draft list is very dynamic and we’re working closely with the unions to determine players’ availability, so it’s not impossible that the names can still change before Friday, when we do the actual picks.”
Castle Lager Springbok Showdown draft squad:
Props: Frans Malherbe*, Thomas du Toit*, Steven Kitshoff*, Trevor Nyakane*, Lizo Gqoboka^, Ox Nche^, Marcel van der Merwe^, Ruan Dreyer^, Dylan Smith, Carlu Sadie, Gerhard Steenekamp, Luan de Bruin, Sti Sithole, Nathan McBeth, Mzamo Majola, Johannes Jonker, John-Hubert Meyer.
Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi*, Scarra Ntubeni^, Dylan Richardson, Johan Grobbelaar, Schalk Erasmus, Fez Mbatha, Dan Jooste.
Locks: Jason Jenkins^, Marvin Orie^, Oupa Mohoje^, JD Schickerling, Emile van Heerden, Le Roux Roets, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Salmaan Moerat, Sintu Manjezi, Walt Steenkamp, Reinhard Nothnagel, Ruan Vermaak, Ruben Schoeman.
Looseforwards: Siya Kolisi*, Duane Vermeulen*, Sikhumbuzo Notshe^, Arno Botha^, Marco van Staden^, Nizaam Carr^, Jaco Kriel^, Ernst van Rhyn, Celimpilo Gumede, Jaco Coetzee, James Venter, Junior Pokomela, Phepsi Buthelezi, Thembelani Bholi, Vincent Tshituka, Elrigh Louw, Jeandré Rudolph, Juarno Augustus, Muller Uys, Len Massyn.
Scrumhalves: Herschel Jantjies*, Embrose Papier^, Ivan van Zyl^, Jaden Hendrikse, Sanele Nohamba.
Flyhalves: Elton Jantjies*, Damian Willemse*, Curwin Bosch^, George Whitehead, Kade Wolhuter, Manie Libbok.
Centres: Frans Steyn*, Lukhanyo Am*, Burger Odendaal, Jeremy Ward, Clinton Swart, Manuel Rass, Marius Louw, Rikus Pretorius, Wandisile Simelane, Werner Kok, Dan du Plessis, Ruhan Nel.
Outside backs: Warrick Gelant*, Travis Ismaiel^, Cornal Hendricks^, Courtnall Skosan^, Rabz Maxwane, Rosko Specman, Seabelo Senatla, Sergeal Petersen, Yaw Penxe, David Kriel, Gianni Lombard, Malcolm Jaer.
* denotes Springbok RWC squad members
^ denotes capped Springbok Test players
Issued by SA Rugby Communications