By Lita Gqirana
As a new era dawns for the South African rugby team, Springboks, there was plenty of interest in the squad announcement for the Incoming Test Series against Ireland in June as Allister Coetzee had numerous key decisions to make in regards to player selection with the factor of the transformation rules to be considered.
Allister Coetzee, the man tasked with coaching the Springboks through a period of transformation and transition from the an era that included Springbok greats such as Victor Matftield and Fourie du Preez, his first Springbok squad announcement was always going to be one which would attract immense attention, as the viewing public would be excited to see what sort of players and ideas the new head coach would bring forth to the green and gold jersey of the Bokke.
With all the attention given to the announcement, Allister Coetzee responded by naming an exciting 31 man squad which will take on the Irish team in the upcoming three June tests. The squad which was announced by South African Rugby Union president, Oregan Hoskins, included nine uncapped players, namely, the exciting trio from the in-form Emirates Lions, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, winger Ruan Combrink and flanker Jaco Kriel. Among the other uncapped players selected by Coetzee includes Bongi Mbonami, Scarra Ntubeni, Sikhumbuzo Noche, Nic Groom, Steven Kitschoff and most surprisingly the inclusion of Sharks flyhalf Garth April.
At the announcement, held at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, coach Allister Coetzee commented on his selection, stating to Sport24: “I was appointed to win Test matches and I believe we have picked the best possible, available squad to do that”. During the announcement, Coetzee also stated to the media that the selection of the captaincy will only be announced shortly before the first test against Ireland and that the captain nominated will only be given the role for this Incoming Test Series.
Springbok squad announced for the June tests against Ireland:
Forwards: Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scarra Ntubeni, Trevor Nyakane, Julian Redelinghuys, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley
Backs: Garth April, Ruan Combrinck, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Nic Groom, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein
Featured image courtesy of www.timeslive.co.za