Experienced flyhalf Handré Pollard, scrumhalf Ross Cronje and utility back Dillyn Leyds have been included in the Springbok touring squad for the Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship as coach Allister Coetzee opted for continuity.
Pollard has successfully completed his ankle injury rehabilitation and was selected in the place of Curwin Bosch, the young Cell C Sharks flyhalf who made his Springbok debut against Argentina in Port Elizabeth.
Cronje has established himself as the regular Springbok No 9 so far this season. He missed the trip to Salta but has recovered from his ankle injury and can be considered for the Test against Australia in Perth next Saturday.
Leyds, who covers wing and fullback, is back in the squad in the place of centre Francois Venter.
Venter, Bosch and Jano Vermaak have all been released back to their respective provinces.Regarding the changes, Coetzee said: “Handré was really impressive during the two weeks he spent with us in Port Elizabeth. Even though he was fit and available for the away match against Argentina in Salta, we made a decision that another week of conditioning will be beneficial for him.
“I believe he is fit and ready to go and he will be utilised in a versatile role, covering centre too. He is the kind of player that really thrives in the Springbok environment and is very coachable. It must be said that he also made huge improvement in terms of his skill levels and the understanding of this team’s technical plan.
“Curwin has grown a lot during his time with us, and all our coaches are pleased with his current development. He knows what is expected of him in this environment, and like I said before, it is my responsibility to manage him properly at international level.
“We would like to see him carry the confidence he has gained during his time with Springboks into the Currie Cup,” explained Coetzee.
The versatile Leyds featured in the three-Test series against France in June and has played consistently well since returning to DHL Western Province, paving the way for his Springbok return.
“Dillyn covers wing, fullback and if needed he can slot into to flyhalf as well. He has continued to impress while playing for his province in the Currie Cup competition,” said Coetzee.
Meanwhile, the Springboks will know the full extent of the rib injury to prop Coenie Oosthuizen by Wednesday. He is scheduled to undergo a scan later on Tuesday.
The rest of the touring squad to Argentina was kept unchanged for the next two away matches in Australia and New Zealand. The Springboks face the Wallabies in Perth on 9 September and meet the All Blacks a week later in Auckland.
Coetzee was delighted with the consistency of the group so far this season, which has again allowed him to keep squad changes to a minimum.
“This group has done well in the previous two matches against Argentina but the next two away matches will pose completely different and difficult challenges,” mentioned Coetzee.
The Springboks will reassemble in Johannesburg on Friday and the squad will depart to Australia in two groups. The backs fly out on Friday evening while the forwards will follow them a day later.
The Springbok squad to Australia and New Zealand:
Uzair Cassiem (flank), Toyota Cheetahs – 3 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Lood de Jager (lock), Vodacom Bulls – 29 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Ruan Dreyer (prop), Emirates Lions – 1 cap, 0 points
Dan du Preez (No 8), Cell C Sharks – uncapped
Jean-Luc du Preez (loose forward), Cell C Sharks – 6 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock), DHL Stormers – 25 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Eben Etzebeth (lock), DHL Stormers – 59 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
Steven Kitshoff (prop), DHL Stormers – 15 caps, 0 points
Siya Kolisi (flank), DHL Stormers – 21 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Jaco Kriel (loose forward), Emirates Lions / Kubota Spears (Jap) – 10 caps, 0 points
Malcolm Marx (hooker), Emirates Lions – 7 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), DHL Stormers – 10 caps, 0 points
Franco Mostert (lock), Emirates Lions / Ricoh Black Rams (Jap) – 12 caps, 0 points
Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Cell C Sharks – 92 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Trevor Nyakane (prop), Vodacom Bulls – 30 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Coenie Oosthuizen (prop), Cell C Sharks – 28 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Chiliboy Ralepelle (hooker), Cell C Sharks – 22 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Andries Coetzee (fullback), Emirates Lions – 5 caps, 0 points
Ross Cronje (scrumhalf), Emirates Lions – 3 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Damian de Allende (centre), DHL Stormers – 24 Caps, 15 points (3 tries)
Francois Hougaard (scrumhalf), Worcester (England) – 44 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
Elton Jantjies (flyhalf), Emirates Lions / NTT Shining Arcs (Jap) – 16 caps, 166 points (2 tries, 30 conversions, 32 penalties)
Jesse Kriel (centre), Vodacom Bulls – 21 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
Dillyn Leyds (utility back), DHL Stormers – 3 caps, 0 points
Rudy Paige (scrumhalf), Vodacom Bulls – 9 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Handre Pollard (flyhalf), Vodacom Bulls – 20 caps, 188 points (2 tries, 29 conversions, 37 penalties, 3 drop goals)
Raymond Rhule (wing), Toyota Cheetahs – 5 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Jan Serfontein (centre), Vodacom Bulls – 30 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Courtnall Skosan (wing), Emirates Lions – 5 caps, 5 points (1 try)